The NAACP- Chicago Westside Branch (CWB), led by President, Karl Brinson, has engaged with the president of Malcolm X College, David Saunders, concerning several critical issues impeding the educational progress and success of African Americans in West side communities (i.e. Austin, East and West Garfield Park, Lawndale).
The NAACP- CWB initiated discussions with President Saunders in 2017 regarding the dismal recruitment, admission, retention and graduation rates of African- American students at Malcolm X College.
To date, there has been little to no progress in elevating meaningful or measurable change resulting in a significant increase in the number of African American students recruited, enrolled, attending, or successfully completing degree or certification-based programs.
Malcolm X College’s fall 2016 enrollment for African American students was 47%. Currently, African-American student enrollment at Malcolm X College has dropped significantly to 34.3%. Comparatively, enrollment for Hispanic/Latinx students has increased to 50.4% of the total student population at Malcolm X College. Moreover, the lack of African-American recruitment and representation is extremely evident in the Nursing Degree (A.A.S) program — one of the most selected fields of study for Black students, because it garners a high earning potential and yields vast career opportunities to address the nursing shortages of the past two decades.
Malcolm X College personnel responded to the NAACP-CWB with statistical data to defend their efforts in the recruitment of Black high school students attending a few West Side schools (John Marshall, Richard T. Crane, Michelle Clark H.S, and others), but we have taken a position that such data is inconsequential. It does not comport with the reality of a sharp decline in African American students.
We also have yet to receive the comparison data of Latinx (Hispanic) recruitment, enrollment, and graduation rates of all programs, which is essential to identify the problems and issues associated with the recruitment and retention failures of Malcolm X College. Nonetheless, this information must be transparent, shared broadly with the West side community and rooted in fact-based evidence — not outdated anecdotal stories or excuses.
With that said, it doesn’t resolve or eliminate why or how we’ve failed to guide and encourage Black students into making positive life altering choices. As we know, there is a direct correlation between educational attainment and poverty, which is why we believe educators of color and community stakeholders are best suited and trained to pursue a course of action on behalf of our West side students. Conversely, when we look at the success Malcolm X College has had with the Hispanic/Latinx community, it reaffirms to us that recruitment practices used are inequitable.
President Sanders shared during the monthly NAACP CWB’s education committee meeting held on Monday, September 20, 2021 that Malcolm X College hires recruitment specialists who are specifically charged with this task. He was asked to provide data about the declining enrollment rates, graduation rates as well as data about the number of African American students placed into remedial (developmental) education classes compared to other races. He promised to send the requested information the very next day, yet, we have not received it.
However, if the results we’ve highlighted in their failure to recruit African-American students isn’t working, then President Saunders, the administration, and the City Colleges of Chicago need to devise a substantive, accountability-driven strategy with a new agenda. This is a solution-based approach to address the problems that have plagued Malcom X College and continuously fails Black students from the West side.
We’re at an impasse in discussions with Malcolm X College representatives and are reaching out to our community stakeholders on the West side to help champion the NAACP-CWB’s cause of advocating for Black students. We seek community residents who are committed and dedicated to advancing the educational experiences and footprint of West side students to ensure all voices are heard loud and clear: Enough is Enough!
Call to Action: All Interested parties who are willing and committed to working with us to address this critical issue may contact the NAACP-Chicago Westside Branch at: (773) 261- 5890 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAACP, Chicago Westside Branch