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Black students in the US need more support

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No recent memory of ours recalls a more lively debate about closing the equity gap in America’s education. Yes, while African Americans struggled to make sense of senseless violence and struggled to navigate a world of challenges and new uncertainties, they are now making systemic changes to their education. The choir to seek – truly advancing opportunity for all – is both more diverse. And more dedicated than ever.

we know why. We know why barriers to educational achievement must be removed. Statistics are grim and stubbornly persistent. Across America, and in our state of Louisiana, whites have far better education, income, health, and well-being than people of color. The facts are nothing new, but it is clear that fairness is essential. In today’s knowledge economy, access to market-relevant education and training is a prerequisite for success.

This is an initiative we are working on in Louisiana, but we know there is power in numbers and systems. That’s why Louisiana joined national higher education leaders earlier this year in supporting the National Association of System Heads’ Power of Systems agenda for students by removing structural and systemic barriers to success.

In a state where 1 in 5 individuals live below the poverty line, urgency drives us to this work. Our Higher Education Master Plan Prospering Louisiana: Driving Talent Needs, We pay close attention to achieving equity by engaging underserved populations, removing barriers and implementing strategies to increase access and student success. This plan also aligns with our obligation to rightly take responsibility for producing enough talent to meet the workforce needs of our business and industry.

As a living legacy of determination, dedication and success, Louisiana proudly supports the Southern University System, America’s only Historically Black University System (HBCU) system. Southern Systems campuses serve more than 12,000 students across the Louisiana capitals of Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport, providing equal opportunities for students and a proven track record of success in serving students. We work hard every day to share the lessons of Students of color across our state. The role these institutions play and the results they ultimately achieve will determine the achievement of our strategic objectives.

Achieving our performance goals is no small task accomplished by tinkering around. Redesigning the system is difficult but necessary. It needs to be implemented at scale across the educational ecosystem. Our work must be data-driven. This means scrutinizing new student enrollment, retention, and completion information by student race and acting on what they learn.

And rather than waiting for children to go to college, the student high school experience needs to be redesigned to offer more college to children. Courses need to be reformed, adopting high-impact practices and incorporating relevant, work-based learning experiences into the curriculum.

Additionally, in today’s digital learning environment, laptops and broadband access must ensure reliable Internet connectivity to enable digital inclusion for all students and communities across the United States.

Having a shared vision focused on accelerating student learning, increasing affordability, and closing perpetual equity gaps makes a difference. Our state benefits from strong higher education leaders from both public and private institutions working together to embrace this work shoulder to shoulder with our governor, legislature, high school partners, and stakeholders. increase.

The urgency now is to recognize that poverty is the enemy and education is the solution. In America today, family income, race, parents’ level of education, and even your zip code speak loudly about your chances of success in college.

That is unacceptable and together we must change the reality for our students by ensuring that education is equitable, affordable and attainable for all.

In Louisiana, we are responding to that call by focusing on doing the hard, organizational work necessary to bring about meaningful change in our quest to move more people out of poverty into prosperity. But even as we work at the state level, this equity imperative is a national imperative. Our future demands that we do this right.

Kim Hunter Reed is a Higher Education Commissioner for Louisiana and Ray L. Belton is president of the Southern University System.