Black Churches need to unite to improve Student Performance

Scott, Marc
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University of Delaware
The purpose of my thesis is to examine what Black churches are currently doing to help improve student performance. The church has a long history of encouraging and supporting the education of African Americans. Presently, school systems around the country face a crisis in education as minority academic performance continues to trail that of their white counterparts. The achievement gap has changed very little over the last fifteen years, and school districts are struggling to reduce it. I propose that the church is an option to help reduce the achievement gap, and improve student performance. In my thesis, I examine what three local churches are doing in New Castle County to help improve student performance. The goal of these interviews was to see how these churches are approaching this problem and in what ways they might need assistance. I found that the pastors were dedicated to helping improve student performance through various outreach efforts. However, each pastor encountered different obstacles that mired the success of the programs at their church. Although the outreach programs may help some students, there is no evidence of its broader impact. From the interviews, I concluded that churches need to work with other churches to build a broader coalition that will tackle this issue with greater resources and numbers than any single church could. Churches working at this problem alone are only reaching a small population of children. The problem is much larger than this and requires a collaborative effort of several churches. The church can draw greater attention to this problem and provide a forum for solutions. The church is one option among many possible solutions to academic achievement differences. There is no single solution to this problem, but I truly believe this one can be a vital tool in addressing the issue.