Today’s students see themselves as digital natives, the first generation to grow up surrounded by technology like smartphones, tablets, and e-readers.
Teachers, parents, and policymakers certainly acknowledge the growing influence of technology and have responded in kind. We’ve seen more investment in classroom technologies, with students now equipped with school-issued iPads and access to e-textbooks. In 2009, California passed a law requiring that all college textbooks be available in electronic form by 2020; in 2011, Florida lawmakers passed legislation requiring public schools to convert their textbooks to digital versions.
Growing up can be tough. Between school, parental pressure, raging adolescent hormones, and trying to fit in, young people often feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. In the last few years, suicide surpassed homicide to become the second leading cause of death for teenagers, and its rise has been felt across nearly every demographic, especially women and girls. While there are a myriad of factors that lead a person to take their own life, there’s one group that’s having an even tougher time than their peers: LGBTQ youth.
“Gay, lesbian, and bisexual young people are almost five times as likely to attempt suicide as their straight peers,” says Amit Paley, chief executive officer and executive director of The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ people under 25.
“The atmosphere at HBCUs offer a space for students to grow and learn without necessarily having to factor that into their college experiences. It’s a safe space in a time where safety concerns and racial tension cannot be denied.”
Thurgood Marshall. Oprah Winfrey. Toni Morrison. Spike Lee. Martin Luther King Jr. These are just some of the notable graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), which are home to many of the nation’s most brilliant scholars. HBCU graduates have not only shaped the course of history, but today, these institutions produce 90% of the nation’s black science and technology graduates, half of the nation’s black teachers, and approximately 20% of black graduates.
While HBCUs play a vital role in educating the next generation of leaders (both black and non-black), historically black institutions have struggled over the years to receive necessary federal and private funding to help them compete with other universities. Still, enrollment has increased over the last three decades.
What do we do when a student misbehaves? Traditional methods of discipline — like reprimanding, detention, or suspension — may not actually solve the problem. Those approaches usually fail to produce long-term solutions, making it more likely for students to disengage or drop out altogether.