Pipeline Mentoring: Conceptualization of an Evolutionary Approach in Addressing the Black Male Crisis
James Bethea, Department of Human Services and Counseling, The School of Education
Black males face formidable challenges matriculating through today’s society. Statistics on the social, economic, and educational outcomes of black males over the past 25 years clearly indicates that a crisis exists among this population. Black males have lower standardized scores, high school graduation rates, post-secondary attendance or college graduation rates than any other group.
The state of New York has three of the top ten largest school districts in the nation serving black males with the lowest high school graduation rate. According to the Schott Foundation for Public Education, the graduation rate in 2006 for black males in public schools New York City was a dismal 32%. As a result low attainment and a poor quality education, black males are experiencing severe unemployment, underemployment, low wages, poor health, less access to health care, and a greater involvement with crime and the criminal justice system.
Mentoring has been empirically validated to have profound positive impacts on youth. Current research indicates mentoring helps improve self-esteem, keeps young people in school, and enhances academic skills among many other things. However, in spite of the empirically validated effectiveness of mentoring, many black males are still left behind. The Pipeline Mentoring model was conceptualized to address some of the myriad of ills facing this group. Pipeline Mentoring connects black males starting in elementary school (4th grade), to middle school (7th grade), to high school (10th grade), to college (sophomores) and finally to adults in various professional fields. The unique aspect of this model is that most of the participants will serve as mentors and mentees concurrently, hence the pipeline. Implementation of the model will begin in August 2009. It is expected the model will yield significant outcomes and ultimately have national implications.