Article: Black colleges struggle to reach goals in face of low graduation rates
Natalie Norton sits alone in a Towson University student cafeteria. The pre-med freshman from Silver Spring hasn't made any close friends yet, and many of her high school buddies now attend nearby Morgan State University, a historically black college.
"I would have preferred to go to Morgan," says Norton, who is African-American. "But I didn't even apply because my grades were really good." Attending a mostly black school would have been "more fun," she adds with a wistful smile. "But academics-wise, they're not as strict. It looks a lot better if you graduate from a majority-white school."
Norton's decision - and the disquieting rationale behind it - represents one of the biggest challenges facing Maryland's four black colleges, experts say, and sheds a light on their recent struggles.
What happened to the notion of "High Black Standards" that was shown in "The Great Debaters"? This type of thinking is sad and an outrage. It did not get this way on its own. This is the result of a long, slow degradation of standards that has taken place at these schools and our community.
Once again I ask the question - why is there such a fight over Affirmative Action, getting a handful of Black students into elite White schools rather than focusing in on the "wide middle" of Black America where these students are on the verge of facing a work career with a high school diploma or can be transformed into high achieving college graduates?