The Undeniable Connection between HBCUs and Black Charter Schools
Feb 21, 2023 4:30:00 PM
by Mark R. Lowery
By creating nurturing environments, employing culturally relevant materials and tapping into Black excellence, historically black universities and colleges (HBCUs) have an unparalleled record when it comes to producing Black college graduates.
Across the country, Black K-12 charter schools are creating a similar roadmap. And it’s no surprise that many of the educators at those schools are HBCU graduates.
In the first installment of a virtual series by the National Charter Collaborative and the United Negro College Fund, educators discussed how HBCU graduates are having a profound impact in communities through K-12 education.
Panelists included Alaina Chipman-Leeks, founder and executive director, Atlanta Unbound Academy and a Spelman University graduate; Artesius Miller, founder and CEO, Utopian Academy for the Arts in Atlanta and a Morehouse College graduate; and Ma’at Lands, founder and director, Rooted Schools Indianapolis, and a Tennessee State University graduate. The session was moderated by Meredith Anderson, director of K-12 research, UNCF.
Lands said one of the reasons both HBCUs and some Black charter schools succeed is because they deconstruct the implicit bias educators have concerning students of color.
“What do you believe about our children?” Lands asked. “Children live up to or down to the expectations we have for them.”
Chipman-Leeks said the charter schools give students a heavy dose of exposure to positive role models who look like them.
“It’s hard to be what you’ve never seen,” she said.
Miller said such schools also engage in myth busting regarding HBCUs, through campus visits and other activities, which ultimately strengthen the Black-teacher pipeline.
Mark R. Lowery was formerly managing editor of Ed Post. He is a veteran journalist who has managed national magazines and worked for major newspapers, including New York Newsday, the Detroit Free Press and the Plain Dealer. He previously served as editorial director of October Research.