Dr. Bertram Melbourne – Pioneering the “College Educate Our Sons” Initiative

 It was her birthday, and I wanted to affirm my friend on her special day.  She however was excited about something far different.  Her nephew had successfully been accepted in a local university and had joined the rich tradition of her family of making college an imperative.  This was the third generation of college attendees for this family.    Her family would be doing everything within their power to support family members to escape the vortex of male drop out of the education system.

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On any given day, nearly 23 percent of all young Black men ages 16 to 24 who have dropped out of high school are in jail,
prison, or a juvenile justice institution in America, according to a disturbing new national report  on the dire economic and social consequences of not graduating from high school.

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Dropouts become incarcerated at a shocking rate:

  • 23 of every 100 young Black male dropouts were in jail on any given day in 2006-07
  • 6 to 7 of every 100 Asian, Hispanic or White dropouts suffer a similar consequence.

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While young Black men are disproportionately affected, the report found that this crisis cuts across racial and ethnic lines.

Male dropouts of all races were 47 times more likely to be incarcerated than their peers of a similar age who had graduated from a four-year college or university.
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Click here for study publications

There has been a dramatic worldwide decline in the number of men in colleges and universities.  Here is the troubling fact.

  • Percentage of men in college in 1949  – 70%
  • Percentage of men in college in 2006 – 42%

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This could have been just another passing tragic headline, but we still have leaders that cannot allow such items to be tossed upon a pile of unsolved crises.

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Rev. Bertram Melbourne, PhD.

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Dr. Bertram Melbourne is no ordinary leader. His motto gives some insight into his life philosophy.

“I believe in leading by example.”

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“He works easily with students and models what he expects from from them.”

George E. Rice, PhD.

 

Dr. Melbourne clearly understands the dire implication of this issue remaining unchallenged, and so in August of 2009, began to formalize an initiative :

Help to make college graduation a life goal for boys and young men. 

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He and several colleagues gave birth to College Educate Our Sons (CEOS), an interfaith organization.  These pioneers formulated an architecture that individual and community organizations can use to encourage, motivate boys and young men to achieve academically and be prepared for entrance into colleges and universities.

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It is now October, 2009, and this concept is taking root like wild fire.  it has been adopted in all 50 states in the United Sates, and in 22 additional countries around the world.  I had the privilege in conversing with Dr. Melbourne about CEOS.

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Click to hear Dr. Melbourne’s wisdom

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Just as the child is father to the man, so the impressions of one’s youth remain the most vivid in manhood.
Gustav Stresemann

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How can you make a difference in the life of some young man today?