David Sanders

David Sanders, the president of Malcolm X College, hosted Rep. Danny K Davis’s State of Education on the West Side forum on Feb. 24, Sanders gave an upbeat update on the college’s progress.

Community colleges are the lowest rung of the post-secondary education ladder, where students start out. Nationally, the graduation rate from community colleges is 44 percent. Our graduation rate was only 7 percent and our funding has dropped by $10 million over seven years.  

When the city college system decided to put $250,000 into our new building, some people questioned (former City Colleges Chancellor) Cheryl Hyman’s investment. As Deputy C.O.O for City Colleges of Chicago, I served as lead project manager for construction of Malcolm X’s new College to Career Health Sciences building and we opened in January 2016.

There’s a lot of great things on the West Side. We now have a 19 percent graduate rate and our target is 32 percent next year.  

For every student who walks in the door, we help them transform their lives. Research shows students don’t step out of college due to their lack of ability, but because of social and economic issues. One student’s needs are not the same as another’s. We invest in faculty to work with students and determine a way for each one to succeed. 

Once you see what we have to offer, you’ll want to stay in school here. Each year, we take 4,000 prospective students on tour to see our college with the new virtual hospital. Don’t look at City Colleges as a school of last resort; we are schools of first choice.  

The Star Scholarship program offers free tuition to high school students with a B-average, and if you keep your grades up in City Colleges, you can get a scholarship to a 4-year college or training program. There’s even a program where you pay tuition for six months for $1,750, and get placed in a $40,000 a year job. 

And we’re not changing the name! Malcolm X said education is your passport to the future, and that’s what we do here at Malcolm X College.


"Barrelhouse Bonni" McKeown, the author of "West Side Blues Blog," has played piano and written about blues music for over 15 years. www.barrelhousebonni.com  She has led classes for young and old on...