Dear Community Stakeholders:
Although several reforms have been made throughout our American educational system—with the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) being one of the most recent reforms—many students are still underperforming, failing in academics, scoring poorly on standardized tests, losing educational motivation and value, dropping out of school, and never obtaining a postsecondary higher education. The vast majority of these students are poor, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and “at-risk” learners.
There needs to be a clear plan to change this pathological outlook toward the value of education. I believe that early educational motivation and intervention are essential to postsecondary attainment. Furthermore, WISE Scholars Foundation maintains that education benefits smaller communities and the larger society by eliminating many of the ricocheting factors often attributed to a lack of postsecondary education such as unemployment, crime, limited career resources and salary, marginalized consumer purchases, illegal drug consumption and trafficking, homelessness, and poverty.
Although poverty and socio economic disadvantaged status is not unique to any particular race, educational statistics reveal that Black males cluster at the bottom of the distribution of virtually every indicator of school failure such as dropping out of school, absenteeism, suspension, expulsion, and low standardized test scores.
For these reasons, the 1980’s was an era in which the Black male was identified as an “endangered species” due to decreased enrollments of Black males in higher education (Gibbs, 1998). Signifying the alarming need to develop projects that connect college to future success, nearly 25 years after the “endangered species” claim, the SREB Fact Book on Higher Education (2005) states, “Many more Black and Hispanic students in the fastest-growing student segments must go to colleges, two year and four year, for the sake of our states and nation.”
With more at-risk factors than their counterparts, the socioeconomically disadvantaged need assistance with completing high school, transitioning from high school to postsecondary institutions of learning, locating scholarships and other financial assistance, providing help for those less prepared to achieve college-level work once enrolled, having mentorship opportunities and maintaining follow-up.
WISE Scholars Foundation is not oblivious to the fact that some individuals will not choose to attend college. We maintain that these individuals should also receive appropriate transition, job-training, and skills preparation in order to enter the workforce.
As CEO, President & Founding Director of WISE Scholars Foundation, I am prepared to lead the process of reforming our nation’s schools by using early intervention, decreasing dropout rates, addressing the issues of higher education access for the socioeconomic disadvantaged, and lessening the gap between postsecondary attainment of socioeconomically disadvantaged areas and their counterparts.
Thus, WISE Scholars Foundation affirms that all individuals can learn given the appropriate mentorship, motivation, resources, and skills to become lifelong learners and prepared citizens.
Marshalette R. Wise, (M.Ed., CELTA)
CEO, President, & Founding Director