This week’s feature takes an in-depth look at how and why Hardy Brown College Prep School in San Bernardino is successfully closing the African American achievement gap.
For decades, finding ways to eliminate the gap between Black and White student achievement has remained a national enigma. Although some have managed to chip away at its edifice, such efforts have rarely yielded sustained improvements or charted a substantive way forward for others to follow. The barrier between the problem and a solution has remained staunchly impenetrable.
Yet, nothing is of greater importance to the African-American family at-large than to equip Black children with the education, judgement, skills and ability needed to navigate a world where the color of their skin continues to place them at a calculated socio-economic disadvantage.
The way forward to a better life for Black children, like it is for other children in America, will be attained through economic opportunity—access to which largely rests on a foundation of education and training.
Admittedly, the road to the American dream weaves through a complicated matrix of national politics and culture. Although education is not a cure all, it provides a roadmap for navigation, vital in helping to level the playing field for people of color. For this reason—if for no other—closing the achievement gap in education must remain a priority.
Hardy Brown College Prep is setting a new standard of academic progress for Black students in the inland region. In 2018, performance improvement among its students in both English/Language Arts and Math, out-paced average improvements attained at the state and local levels.
Propelling their students to academic achievement is a priority for the school’s principal, teachers, staff and parents who work as a cohesive unit with a single objective in mind—inspiring their students to excellence.
The college bound students at Hardy Brown Prep are laying a foundation for change not only in their own lives, but potentially at some point in the future, in the lives of their children. Many of these young scholars will be the first in their families to attend college. It is a generational hope as these students grow to adulthood, they will one day be counted among those college-educated parents who, according to statistics, will raise children of their own who will be more likely to attend and complete college—beginning a cycle that can carry forward through generations.
The good news for the African-American community is despite the persistent academic achievement gap, college graduation rates among African-Americans has doubled since 1991; but at just under 23 percent, the number of African-Americans who currently hold a bachelor’s degree or higher still lags well behind other groups for several reasons, among the most compelling is the academic achievement gap that has persisted from elementary through high school.
Hardy Brown College Prep is proving with proper educational stewardship, closing the achievement gap is not illusive. As a result, a cadre of young scholars are blazing a trail of academic success certain to change the trajectory of their lives.
For decades experts have analyzed and bemoaned ad-nauseum about African American students’ failure to perform on par with White students and offered a mountain of socio-economic explanations and excuses for the educational system’s in ability to identify and implement meaningful and lasting solutions.
The majority of students at Hardy Brown Prep face the same socio-economic challenges that have plagued the Black community since emancipation—most are poor, many live in households headed by single mothers who confront the same day to day challenges faced by most of their peers, yet the school is proving despite these obstacles, the right approach to education can make all the difference.
At Hardy Brown College Prep the academic achievement gap is narrowing and although its students are not yet at achievement parity, the school has charted a course that is pointed like a laser—toward success.
Of course, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.