Black Round Table Searches for Solutions to Higher Education Disparities

The Colorado Black Round Table held a forum with higher education leaders last weekend to brainstorm closing the college education gap in the state between blacks and whites that is one of the nation’s worst. Some ideas:

- Create a college pipeline for minority high school graduates, in which promising  students would be identified, recruited and assisted.

- Recruit and provide support systems for African American faculty.

- Find sources to fund scholarships to defray the rising costs of attending universities.

“We have a gold mine in this room that not only could make an impact on our African American students, but on our community as a whole,” said Sharon Bailey, a Round Table leader, to a standing room only crowd at Hiawatha Davis Jr. Recreation Center.

Leaders at the forum also brought up the idea of creating an African American think tank in Colorado, much like the Latin American Research and Service Agency for the Latino community, to study data on social issues.

The research would help develop programs to address the education gaps that exist in Colorado.

Those disparities were the nation’s worst for both Latinos and blacks at the time of the 2010 Census. For adults 25 and older in the state, 42.5 percent of whites had a college education, while the figure was 19.5 percent for blacks and 12 percent for Latinos. The more recent American Community Survey had Colorado improving slightly in the rankings.

The weekend session on closing the gaps in higher education was the latest in a series of Round Table forums to address fundamental inequities in measures of social progress disclosed by the I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS Losing Ground series. The series can viewed here.

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