This list of top colleges? Now that's fake news.
The best of everything starts with HBCUs.
Ivy this. Ivy that. Yeah, it sounds so elegant,
But my ancestors were banned, so to me it's irrelevant.
Every year, publications like US News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes release their list of "top colleges." Many prospective college students and their families depend on these coveted lists to help determine which schools they'll apply to. Year after year, institutions like Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Yale top the list. Yet, anyone who's attended an HBCU knows that a college list that doesn't include at least a few HBCUs at the top is invalid. Fake news.
Our new song, The ABCs of HBCUs Anthem, challenges the notion that Ivy Leagues are America's top institutions. When you look at the statistics - 85 percent of Black doctors, 80 percent of Black federal judges, and 75 percent of Black PhDs attended an HBCU, there's no denying the impact of HBCUs.
Our anthem also highlights that at one time, Black people weren't even allowed to attend predominately white institutions (PWIs). Recent reports have shown that schools like Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and Yale were built on the backs of slave labor and deeply rooted racist and segregationist ideologies.
To determine a school's ranking, US News and World Report prioritizes indicators like student selectivity (standardized test scores and class rankings), undergraduate academic reputation, and faculty resources. It's almost laughable, but these indicators put HBCUs at an incredible disadvantage.
As Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University explains, the rankings don't highlight the best schools, they merely expose "the most privileged."
Although PWIs constantly top these college lists, upward mobility, a school's ability to move its students into higher economic brackets, only accounts for 5 percent of a universities total score. So it should come as no surprise that a 2017 report from the "Equality of Opportunities" revealed that universities like Yale and Princeton "admit more students from the top 1 percent of earners than the bottom 60 percent combined."
Despite enrolling much higher percentages of poor students, HBCUs produce more upwardly mobile students than PWIs. Almost 70 percent of HBCU students earn middle-class incomes or higher and a 2018 study found that 9.4 percent of PWI students who came from poor families were able to move into the top income brackets as adults. For HBCU students, that number more than doubles - at 19.3 percent.
(Young Kamala Harris)
But HBCUs are more than their numbers. When you walk onto an HBCU campus, you're keenly aware of its history. You know that you're entering the same hallways and classrooms as Chadwick Boseman, Booker T. Washington, and Stacey Abrams.
So in our video, it was really important to bring HBCU icons like Dr. King, W.E.B. DuBois, the Greensboro Four, Hidden Figures, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Thurgood Marshall to life. Before shooting each scene, we talked to our little actors about each historical figure that they were playing. We watched videos, listened to speeches, and talked about their impact.
It was such an incredible experience and we can't wait to see how the next generation of HBCU grads continue to shape our world!.
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