“Handholding” of Young Black Males in High School May Hinder Their Success Later On
Filed in Research & Studies on August 29, 2016
Chezare A. Warren, an assistant professor of teacher education at Michigan State University, conducted a study that found that special attention given to Black males in urban high school classrooms may not serve them well later in life. Dr. Warren interviewed a group of Black male graduates of a single-sex college preparatory high school in Chicago where all students in the graduating class went on to college.
But Dr. Warren found that to avoid a failing grade in high school, the former students said they were given more time to finish assignments, extra credit projects, and were allowed many opportunities to retake assignments, exams, and quizzes.
“The inclination in some secondary schools is that young men of color from urban environments need a lot of help, that they’re behind, so we give them all of this support that doesn’t really challenge them to actually be better,” said Dr. Warren. “If you’re offering the students supports without actually pushing them to meet high standards for college readiness, those supports are likely just weighing them down. To win a race, you must run faster, not slower. And at some point they will get to college, but the only way for them to stay in college is to have the skills to struggle through the academic difficulties they will likely encounter.”
Dr. Warren joined the faculty at Michigan State University in 2014. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, where he majored in secondary education. He holds a master’s degree from Concordia College and a Ph.D. in policy studies in urban education from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The study, “We Learn Through Our Struggles: Nuancing Notions of Urban Black Male Academic Preparation for Postsecondary Success,” was published in a special issue of Teachers College Record. It may be accessed here.