You might have followed the debate last fall questioning why HBCU’s should continue to exist. It is an ongoing public discourse that has been debated for decades. Below are several links to the debate and subsequent discussions, commentaries, blogs, and editorials starting with the original article by Jason Riley in the Wall Street Journal, “Black Colleges Need A New Mission”.
Wall Street Journal
Chronicle of Higher Education
Hampton University President Responds
NAFEO’s Response: National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
Wall Street Journal – Letter to the Editor
October 4, 2010
Jason Riley challenges President Barack Obama to avoid “a conventional approach to higher education, and to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in particular” (“Black Colleges Need a New Mission,” op-ed, Sept. 28). But the president is already taking the unconventional approach of pushing for more strategic investments in HBCUs because he recognizes that, while HBCUs are a mere 4% of the nation’s four-year colleges and universities, they confer over 22% of the bachelor’s degrees awarded to African-Americans. In 2007-2008, they conferred 34% of all African-Americans’ bachelor’s degrees in physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and biology. In 2008-2009, 10 HBCUs produced 13% of all new African-American teachers. The fact is, we need HBCUs to reach many of our key national goals, including having the best educated and most competitive and diverse workforce in the world by 2020.
HBCUs face big challenges. That is why President Obama began an annual HBCU conference this year, calling on HBCU leadership to improve graduation rates, and later saying “we’ve got a lot more work to do.” We need open, honest and robust conversation around these important issues in order to ensure that our HBCUs continue to lift our communities and strengthen our country.
John Silvanus Wilson Jr.
White House Initiative on
Historically Black Colleges and Universities