DATE: June 21, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Albemarle, Charlottesville African-American Students, Two Expert Panels, to Headline Community Town Hall This Wednesday Evening Examining “School to Prison Pipeline”
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – It’s called the “School to Prison Pipeline,” and it refers to statistics in school divisions around the country that show that minority students are proportionately disciplined more often in school than their white counterparts.
According to the Justice Policy Institute, overall incarceration rates for juveniles have been decreasing since the mid-1990s, but across the nation, out-of-school suspension rates have increased by double digits since 2000. According to the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, African-American students are three times more likely to be suspended from school than white students.
On Wednesday evening, June 26, students who attend M-Cubed, a national award-winning academic and character development program for local middle school African-American males, will present their research on this topic. Students have been using the algebra readiness skills from M-Cubed to collect data on disproportionate discipline outcomes.
Following their presentation, a panel that includes professionals from law enforcement, the criminal justice system and educators will offer their insight. A second panel will offer their observations and recommendations to the M-Cubed scholars and to community members.
Members of the public are invited to attend and participate in the town hall by offering their thoughts and questions to students and panel members. Conversation will take place from 6 until 7:45 p.m. in Lane Auditorium in the County Office Building at 401 McIntire Road in Charlottesville.
The town hall is being hosted by the 100 Black Men of Central Virginia, an organization that mentors African-American boys and youth in local schools. M-Cubed is one of the organization’s initiatives, serving rising fifth through eighth grade African-American males in Albemarle County and Charlottesville City public schools. The three Ms in the program name stand for Math, Men and Mission.
This nationally award-winning program focuses on the personal and academic development and growth of the students it serves. When it began in 2009, there only was one seventh grade African-American male enrolled in Algebra I in the county schools. Seven years later, the enrollment rate was 67 percent for those who participated in the M-Cubed program, compared to 27 percent of their peers not enrolled in M-Cubed.
Also that year, 90 percent of M-Cubed students exhibited year-over-year growth in Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) test scores, more than 30 percent higher than their peers who were not enrolled in M-Cubed. And, using Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) assessment, 65 percent of M-Cubed students demonstrated mastery of grade level content, nearly 40 percent better than peers not enrolled in the program.
“Students who participate in M-Cubed often return to the program to mentor their younger peers, and they frequently become leaders in their high school,” said Dr. Bernard Hairston, a program founder who also is Albemarle County’s Assistant Superintendent for School Community Empowerment. Dr. Hairston also serves as the president of 100 Black Men of Central Virginia.
“This town hall is one of several program priorities this year in M-Cubed,” Hairston added. “Our two-week program also includes parent meetings; book studies, including with author John Grisham; self-reflection; and math study skills,” he said. He described the study of Algebra I as a gateway for future academic success in high school.
The 2019 class of 38 Albemarle and Charlottesville students represents 18 elementary and middle schools in the county and city.