Dispelling Disparities for African American Male Students: A Review of Three Successful Charter School Models

by Ayana Allen; Chance W. Lewis; Lakia M. Scott

Apr 1, 2014

This research study provides a comprehensive review of the ways in which schools of choice can advance academic outcomes for students through charters, college preparation programs, and single gender models. It reports three school models that have demonstrated success, followed by a discussion regarding undergirding program themes. Key recommendations for administrators and policy makers include reform strategies for discipline-related infractions, a reevaluation of the role of culture and its significance in the classroom, and the continual collaboration amongst school, home, and community.

  • The three models examined in this paper, YES Prep Public Schools, KIPP, and Urban Prep Academies, serve as examples of school systems that are intentionally focusing on the academic achievement and overall success of underrepresented populations, including Black males.
  • YES Prep serves as a nationally recognized model of success, KIPP serves as a national model with deep roots in the individual communities that they serve, and Urban Prep serves as the model for a single-gender college preparatory charter school that is solely dedicated to improving the outcomes of African American males.
  • There is a critical need to re-evaluate assumptions about race and cultural significance in the classroom. Teacher perceptions regarding urban students can either foster or limit a student’s ability, access, and overall motivation to learning.
  • There is a direct need to re-think universal policies in terms of discipline and classroom practices. A “one-size-fits-all” model can be detrimental to a schooling environment that comprises students who have different values, customs, and perceptions.