I went to check my email and found this jubilant news greeting me:
Urban Prep Academy Gets 100% Black Male College Attendance… Again
Well, that’s certainly an impressive sounding accomplishment. The link to the article was labelled, How the school achieves triumph. Of course I wanted to know, so I clicked through and was brought to AOL’s Black Voices. There I found a short celebratory article by Boyce Watkins, PhD, about the Urban Prep Academy of Chicago, an all male charter school for kids from the “worst” parts of the city. The article was sparse on details, but abundant with affirmations of Black greatness.
The school started with kids whose futures had been left for dead by their public schools: Only four percent of the school’s incoming freshmen were reading at grade level when they arrived on campus. But by sending all of their graduating seniors to college, they’ve not only gotten these kids up to speed, they’ve allowed them to zip past every other public school in the entire United States.
“No other public [school] in the country has done this,” said Tim King, the founder of Urban Prep.
So far, so good. Hopefully, they can tell us the secret formula they used to destroy the seemingly incurable problem of Black high school under-performance.
The students at the school are required to wear a jacket and tie every single day. They also go to school for two hours longer than other kids. They take English twice a day and are given a mentor with a cell number that kids can call 24 hours a day. They’ve clearly hit the mark when it comes to understanding that getting our children to the land of educational success requires both academic and sociological strategies.
That’s it?! So after billions of dollars spent trying to close the achievement gap, we find now that 2 extra hours of school, uniforms and a personal mentor is all that was needed to get Black students to excel? Hot damn! Time to celebrate!
Dr. Watkins spends the rest of the article bathing in the glory of the profound news and proving why he deserves the title of “Doctor” before his name.
…the men of Urban Prep Academy are firm reminders of what black men are meant to be. We are not hard wired to be thugs, athletes or entertainers. We are meant to be just as brilliant, capable and successful as everyone else in America…Every child can be college material if they choose to be. I was personally told that I wasn’t smart enough to go to college, but it takes more intelligence to make it in prison than it does to make it on a college campus. It all comes down to hard work, and black people know how to work hard.
Well, that makes sense, considering all the geniuses in prison. Go on good Doctor.
What I also love about Urban Prep is that they are translating the excellence that black men show in athletics and transferring that to academic achievement. It takes far less effort and natural ability to become a heart surgeon than it does to become an NBA basketball player.
Exactly. If they can play basketball, then they should be able to perform complex surgery. Why didn’t I think of that? Guess that’s why I’m not a doctor.
They should be given millions more dollars to pursue their objectives. Their educational model should be replicated in every city across America. They are showing us that black men are not destined for failure, fundamentally flawed or built for mediocrity. We truly embody excellence.
Tell it Dr. Watkins! We must spread this news far and wide and make sure that Congress and the President are aware of this stellar educational model so that we can transform inner city schools across the nation into shining beacons of hope for every Black child in America.
Sure there’s plenty of details that we haven’t been told, like, “What were their end of grade test results? What were their GPAs?” Who knows? Does it even matter? Well dammit, I guess I’m just too much of a cynic, because I had to delve deeper and found some pertinent facts that the triumphant Dr. Watkins failed to reveal:
Oh wait, so they only graduate the kids that get accepted into college? Well, they all got into college so I’m sure they were excellent students, right?
Well…hey, why sweat the small stuff when you have such a fantastic story of an entire Black senior class making it to college? So most of those that made it were woefully unqualified. So what? What matters is feeling good inside. We don’t need to worry about kids meeting requirements anymore. We can just change the requirements to meet the kids. Achievement gap solved.