Imparting Wisdom: HBCU Lessons for K-12 Education

UNCF has released a new report, Imparting Wisdom: HBCU Lessons for K-12 Education, which details historically black colleges and universities’ (HBCUs) longstanding efforts to provide quality educational experiences for their students and how their success may be translated in K-12 schools. 

For decades, public education has implemented reforms specifically targeting students of color, but the sector continues to face challenges in improving academic outcomes. However, HBCUs are often overlooked as sources of effective methods for producing high-achieving black students, although their existence is based on this very premise. HBCUs have been engines for ingenuity, academic excellence and social justice for decades, and the strategies and practices they implement can inform educational practices and systems. 

Imparting Wisdom uplifts research-based HBCU best practices, practical recommendations and insights from HBCU leaders, with the goal of promoting mutually beneficial alliances between the K-12 and higher education communities. The outlined lessons in the report rest on the following best practices that HBCUs employ: 

(1) cultivating nurturing support systems, 

(2) leveraging African American culture and identity and 

(3) setting high expectations. 

Each best practice also details corresponding lessons for the K-12 space, including investing in quality advising and support systems, recruiting more teachers and leaders of color, infusing culturally relevant pedagogy, establishing affinity groups that affirm student race and culture, maintaining high expectations for all students, and creating an intentional college-going culture.

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