Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

California Educators Seek to Join with Churches to Help Minority Students

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

California Educators Seek to Join with Churches to Help Minority Students

Article excerpt

OAKLAND, CALIF.

Educators want to team with Black churches to help students pass California's new mandatory high school exam and prepare for college.

Helping Black students, who scored below other groups on voluntary math and English exams last spring, was the subject of the Black Education Summit earlier this month. The conference, at Acts Full Gospel Church in Oakland, was attended by about 300 educators, parents, grandparents and church leaders.

Black churches long have promoted education in their communities.

"The church is the oldest institution we have," says L.E. VanHook, senior pastor at Community Church for Christ in Oakland. "We're trying to do anything and everything to help our young people."

One way to do that may be through a new partnership between community colleges, state universities and faith-based organizations proposed by Dr. Jacqueline Mimms, an assistant vice president at the University of California Office of the President.

Mims hopes to open 15 to 25 pilot academic centers in churches and community centers in the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside by the fall. The centers would provide afterschool and weekend help in math, science, English and on standardized exams.

Mims hopes to help Blacks, Hispanics and other groups underrepresented in colleges and universities.

"We're not in the business of trying to champion any particular religion," Mimms says, but "the church is a venue for delivering services and information within the community. That's where families are. There's a tremendous opportunity to reach large numbers of people. …

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