AVC Black student retention low
Lancaster, CA – The Black student population continues to increase at Antelope Valley College, but the retention rate is low.
It’s the beginning of the semester for Antelope Valley College and other junior colleges around the county. Books are expensive, parking is scarce, and finding classes are hectic. At the beginning of each semester most students show up refreshed and ready to take on their future. Then by the second week, the trickling of faces begins.
According to the AVC Student Equity Plan Data from 2004 to 2009 shows that African American students continue to drop out more frequently than other students. Seventy-seven percent of Black students at AVC finish a full semester, while 84 percent of Hispanic students and 86 percent of White students complete the full term.
Along with low retention rates, African American students are not achieving at competitive levels. Black students who are earning passing grades is 51 percent while Hispanics are passing at 65 percent and Whites at 73 percent.
Jill Zimmerman, dean of student services, says this low retention and success rates among African American students have been a little history repeating.
“This has been a historical trend for us every year,” she said. “But, African Americans have done better in shorter semesters, that is intercession or summer school. Is it because they are more motivated, taking fewer classes, betters students go during those semesters? We don’t know.”
Tim Wiley is the director of AVC’s CalWORKs, a government funded program that financially assists single parent students on welfare. Wiley says he has seen a pattern develop over the past 13 years with higher drop out rates among Black students.
“I know in my program there’s a lot (of drop outs),” Wiley explained. “From the general population of our young Black students, I would say sometimes that is true, and for a variety of normal reason: couldn’t get into classes, registering late, not having the financial means to continue or purchase a book.”
In CalWORKs, Wiley also notices other life barriers such as children or other personal issues prevent students from continuing their college education. But there is another factor both students and faculty have projected. There may be a percentage of Black students who enroll simply to reap the benefits of financial aid.
Wiley does not like to generalize, but he does recognize a disparity among Black students at the school. In comparison to other ethnic groups on campus, Black students are not achieving as well.
“As a young man, I went to school in the 50s and the 60s,” Wiley said. “So my charge is to make sure that we don’t go down that same road, but then take advantage of the opportunities that are here before us. Then I think that’s where our Black youth fall down. They don’t take the full advantage of being in the classroom and forging ahead with everything possible, with everything they have ahead of them.”
Wiley also notices that Black students do not commune for educational purposes such as study group or even club activities on campus, which may contribute to a lower level of success.
A program was developed at Gratts Elementary School in May 1999, that emphasized learning and reading in an interactive and fun environment. It was called the Gratts Reading Club. The success and growth of that reading club led to the formation of Reading to Kids later that year.
You’ve always secretly loved this time of year, even though everybody else seems to grumble about it.
Back to school. Back to homework and getting up early to hit the books. Back to boring classrooms. Grrrr.
You grumble along, but the truth is that back-to-school season is exciting. You get to see friends you didn’t see over summer, the clothes and kicks everybody’s rocking, and boys—the ones who were nerds last spring—who suddenly became oh-so-fine.
Najee Ali, director of the civil rights group Project Islamic HOPE, has filed a second federal civil rights complaint with United States Attorney Andre Birotte’s central district office concerning the racially motivated attack and taunting with a noose of a Black teen at Santa Monica High School.
Principal Hugo Pedroza, Superintendent Tim Cuneo, and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School district are named in the complaint.
Santa Monica police issued this statement Tuesday regarding the alleged racial bullying incident that occurred at Santa Monica High School:
“During the course of this ongoing investigation, officers were informed of allegations that school administrators had handled the incident unlawfully. Due to the close relationship between city and school district administration, the police department has referred the allegations of misconduct by school administrators to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for investigation.”