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Talent & education

Does college prep begin in grade school?

If Michigan wants more minority college graduates, it needs to invest in quality school counseling.

Grade school counseling.

That’s one of the recommendations in a report released today by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The report, “The Quest for Excellence: Supporting the Academic Success of Minority Males in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Disciplines,” examines efforts to increase the graduation rates of minority males.

The report was released the same day that Bridge published an analysis of the African-American graduation rate at Wayne State University.

Only one in 10 African-Americans earn a degree from Wayne State within six years of enrolling, one of the lowest rates in the country. The school has the widest gap between black and white graduation rates among the nation’s public universities, Bridge found.

The six-year, black male graduation rate at Wayne State was less than 8 percent in 2009.

To a lesser extent, the same trend exists among black males in STEM majors nationally, according to the study. While 15 percent of males between the ages of 15 and 24 are black, only 5 percent of the bachelor’s degree holders are African American.

The report, based on surveys of students, faculty and administrators at 14 public universities around the country, made a series of recommendations for increasing retention and graduation rates, most of which boiled down to better academic preparation before students reach campus, including grade-school counseling and beefed-up high school curriculum.

In other words, if Michigan wants to improve college graduation rates, it may need to focus more on K-12.

3 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. Susan Emmons

    I wish you had offered more information about why the cited report called for grade school counselors. Decent facilities as well as interested and encouraging teachers at the K-12 level would do more for future success, it seems.

  2. Thomas W. Donnelly

    I would submit that college preparation begins in the home, even at the pre-school level. I can remember walking through EMU’s campus buildings, especially the Science Building, wiht my children in strollers. My wife and I would continue this campus contact as often as possible, as much to reduce fear of going to college as just getting the young ones aware of what a college was.
    We stressed vocabulary development with all of our children in the home. Educational programming on public television was just becoming available while my children were toddlers. We used every opportunity to help the children learn about the world as all that it has to offer.
    My point is that it is never too early to build a child’s awareness of college education as a key to success. As far as middle school counseling students about college experiences, that is great. Vocabulary development is crucial for the student to be successful. It is a step by step process, and not out of the reach of any parent.

  3. William C. Plumpe

    Yes, educational of children begins at home with the parents but in large urban areas like Detroit many parents are uneducated or undereducated at best so they cannot really help. The key is intensive tutoring/mentoring in grades 2to 5 when basic skills in reading and math and good study habits are learned. Extend the school day so that those students are able to get special attention. Are you aware that how many prisons are built ten years down the line is tied to 3rd grade reading and math scores? Improve 3rd grade reading and math scores and the need for prison space 10-15 years down the line will decrease proportionately.

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