Black on Black Compassion is concerned about at-risk African American youth at a time where stark socioeconomic dichotomies threaten to leave segments of the community living well below their potential. The Village Scholars project is designed to be an ongoing BBC initiative that coordinates community resources to enhance academic performance among at-risk African American students in targeted metropolitan and rural areas.
While the percentage of blacks, ages 18 to 24, enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions rose from 16% to 35% from 1970 to 2014, there remains an achievement gap between whites and blacks, particularly in the area of dropout rates.
Experts conclude a clear nexus between education attainment and the incarceration. Aside from crime/incarceration, academic underachievement erodes future economic opportunities and introduces social costs that are particularly problematic for under-resourced segments of society.
While public policy, including No Child Left Behind and Common Core, have sought to address educational disparities, ultimately the African American community can and must shoulder the responsibility of owning this issue, where possible. The National Education Association notes:
Closing achievement gaps is a critical issue. The performance of Blacks is systematically different from that of other racial and ethnic groups. Decreasing gaps in student achievement means that we must increase the learning gains of Blacks. This will require the creation of public policies and legislation that support public schools committed to identifying and setting high, worthwhile, and attainable goals for students and ensuring that teachers and students are supported in these efforts. It will also require meaningful collaboration among community organizations and leaders, parents, and the school. The success of the school must become the success of the community.
Village Scholars envisions using the BBC platform to organize people, financial, and other resources to help black youth successfully matriculate through primary, secondary, and postsecondary education. The project focuses on individuals that are vulnerable to one or more at-risk factors such as:
Likewise, the geographic focus will prioritize cities and rural areas that suffer from any combination of:
Village Scholars seeks to enroll educators (including tutors), faith-based and community organizations, professional groups, businesses, parents, students, and other stakeholders in designing and executing a range of activities such as: competitions, tutorial programs, mentorships, internships, and crowdfunding – all to enhance the efforts of at-risk black students to reach their academic potential.
Village Scholars has a particularly interest in targeting Chicago, IL in response to the disturbing level of violence that is claiming young lives.
The basic and details elements of Village Scholars Project are set forth. The product of this phase must ask and answer who, what, where, where, how, and how much questions. These include:
2. Structure, including partnerships
3. City of cities
4. Processes e.g., student enrollment, measurements
5. Financing strategies.
The implementation of the first iteration of Village Scholars project is underway. The completion of the first round of Iteration I. This includes the delivery of a full review, recommendations for the future rounds of the Iteration I city, and planning for Iteration II (i.e., next city for Village Scholars).60%
This phase focuses on the creation of an overall strategic plan to guide the first iteration of BBCs Village Scholars project. It is vital that the strategy articulates:
The strategy must articulate mechanism to promote sustainability. This is particularly important for key personnel given the project will greatly rely on time and energy of its leaders. Likewise, the campaign must plan ways in which to sustain the overall work of BBC and by-extension, The LowdCrowd Network.
This phase will concentrate on gaining commitment of resources for the campaign. This includes, but is not limited to:
The nature of this project and youth consumers will likely require the participation of federal, state, and/or local education agencies, Institutional Review Board(s), background check processes, privacy protections, etc.
It is vital that we formalize these commitments using such tools as Memorandums of Understanding (MOU).
This phase focuses on efficient and effective execution of the overall Village Scholars strategy.
Once completion of this iteration is reached, we must collect, analyze, and plan for the next iteration of the process. Deriving learnings/insights is critical. NextGen might call for continuation and/or growth e.g., launching institutions.