Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Finding the Key to Make a Difference. (Speaking of Education)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Finding the Key to Make a Difference. (Speaking of Education)

Article excerpt

It took a late-night rerun of "Larry King Live" for me to learn about "The Key," a CD-ROM that encourages students who are interested in attending historically Black colleges. Distributed by Ember Media, in partnership with the Tom Joyner Foundation and the William J. Clinton Foundation, the resource is being sent to every public high school in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., as well as to every public school with more than 50 Black students in the rest of the country. I could not have been more excited about this CD-ROM and the voices it contains, including Torn Joyner and President Clinton and HBCU grads such as Ananda Lewis. The Black media have been a partner in the distribution of The Key, with the CD-ROM being distributed through Essence, Black Enterprise and Vibe magazines.

The most recent data on the Black population point out the need for the new CD-ROM While nearly a third of all White men have bachelor's degrees or more, just 16.4 percent of African American men over age 25 have completed at least four years of college. A slightly higher proportion of African American women, 17.5 percent, have bachelor's degrees or better, while 27.3 percent of White women have bachelor's degrees. This educational disparity contributes to the income disparity that exists between African Americans and Whites--Black persons and families experience a 22.7 percent poverty rate (compared to a 7.8 percent rate among Whites). I have media colleagues who rather myopically note that all Black folks can't go to college, and they may be right that everyone does not aspire to higher education. The fact, though, is that college education goes a long way toward closing the income gap.

At this writing, the U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled on the University of Michigan affirmative action cases, but whether they support the university in its quest for inclusiveness or slain the door on African Americans seeking higher education, we know that the Center for Individual Rights is not going anywhere. That said, affirmative action is likely to be under attack forever. Joyner, Clinton and the folks who produced The Key have the right idea in suggesting that there is more than one way to get Black students into college. Affirmative action is certainly one way, but more knowledge about historically Black colleges is another.

Joyner really deserves applause for all of the work he does in lifting up our nation's historically Black colleges and universities. If you "google" him, you'll find that he has literally raised millions in scholarship and support money for HBCUs. …

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