Urban Communities Need More College-Bound Programs

What is the value of education?

Educational value, the level of education given through programming in school that helps progress knowledge, creativity, and continuity. Educational value is essential in today's education, it allows students to strive for better knowledge. In today's modern education, urban communities suffer from a lack of it.

Urban school communities lack educational value, and being in a school in an urban community there's a lack of effort made from the students, staff, and teachers. This creates a lack of focus in preparation.

Why should schools focus on preparing their students?

If schools were well equipped and focused on preparing their students, urban high school dropout rate would decrease. Instead, it'll increase the level of graduations and the number of students coming from an urban environment into a college.

In suburban areas, the graduation rate is much higher than the ones in urban areas. An example made from the New York Times stated that students in Cleveland had a 38% chance of graduating than the 80% of students graduating in a non-urban community.

However, most schools aren't fully preparing their kids for college:

Many students aren't fully prepared for the SATs and ACTs. And according to the College Board and Huffington Post from 2005 – 2015 the SAT scores appeared stagnant as there's been no increase in scores.

SAT & ACT StatisticsCollegeboard.org

I believe more college-bound programs should be made:

College-bound programs like College Bound Brotherhood, Legal Outreach, and NJLEEP are very effective in urban environments. College-bound programs are needed because they are effective, rigorous, resourceful, provide networking connections, provide college readiness, and are big motivators towards education and success.

In providing more information about college-bound programs, I've been given the privilege of speaking with the New Jersey-based college-bound program known as NJLEEP (New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project). NJLEEP is a 4-year high school college-bound program bent on striving students in urban communities achieve college readiness and a better advantage in becoming educated and successful.

Alongside their strive to lead their students on a path of success, NJLEEP successfully attempts at bringing in a sense of community. They do so by getting parents involved with their students' success. By creating a hand in hand collaboration they ensure that parents and their students work together and that they are healthy and successful. With the help of Sergio Seijas, the NJLEEP Dean of Family Engagement, NJLEEP manages to create that loving and rigorous atmosphere. As you can see, NJLEEP has helped not only the staff but the students come together to help a build a healthy learning community. And as of now, NJLEEP has now a successful 100% college acceptance rate. As the college range from Harvard University, Wesleyan, NYU and many great colleges and universities. Schools coming from an urban environment such as Newark, Irvington, Brooklyn, or Detroit don't have any motivation in preparing their students and challenging them academically.

Take it from me, proud NJLEEP alumni.

Me and Elizabeth Abitanto, the Managing Director of Programs @ 2016 Diversity Gala photo by Jay Evans

2016 graduatesPhoto courtesy of NJLEEP

During my high school career, my school wasn't preparing us, students, enough or at all for becoming college ready. As the school only favored the top 20% of the graduating class and prepared only them for college applications and readiness skills. As the school was used to having it's stagnant dropout and district school transfer rate. This created a negligent environment, a caused many students to believe that the school was a neglectful community. As many of the students didn't know what the SAT was, or what FAFSA is.

As the students who were unlucky enough like myself who weren't in the top 20% were told to just apply to a trade school, or invest into getting a solid job after high school was the best solution.

If it wasn't for NJLEEP, I would have never learned the skills needed to become college ready. With building my networking, grammar and vocabulary, and public speaking skills as well as my academic skills, I am now currently a Junior at Montclair State University. Overall I find all college-bound programs to be successful and I believe that a lot of programs like these can truly benefit the community and its students. Personally, all of this wouldn't have been made possible without the help of programs like NJLEEP. So thank you NJLEEP.

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