Chapter 3 of Malcolm Gladwell’s: David and Goliath should be read by every collge bound high school student and H.S. guidance counselor/college advisor

Misplaced Opportunity?

“Today, the conservative leaning Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a new affirmative action case out of Michigan. Nearly a decade ago, a more balanced court ruled in Grutter v. Bollinger that racial preferences in law school admissions was permissible with the aim of fostering a diverse learning environment.” – The Grio….I wonder if we need a shift and focus to college retention, STEM major retention, and college graduation. Further, in his recently publish book: David and Goliath; Malcolm Gladwell presents an interesting hypothesis in Chapter 3 (this chapter should be read by all college bound high school students and H.S. guidance/college counselors; even if they don’t read the entire book; which they should). Titled: “If I’d gone to the University of Maryland, I’d still be in science.” Smart Black and Latino students are very often pulled into “top tier” colleges to satisfy  the diversity goals of the college, and also to allow the college to “draw down” large governmental and private scholarship money. And yet often there is no real commitment to make sure those students remain in school by creating a cultural structure of academic and psychological support that would encourage these students to  pursue and complete a STEM major, and ultimately graduate. It is also possible that the reason these students struggle academically, switch from a STEM major and often fail to graduate is that these students perhaps were top students in an environment where they did not have a “critical mass” of competition (a large percentage of the student body aggressively fighting for top grades); these students may in fact have graduated from “majority minority” schools where very talented and bright students (Particularly males) chronically and purposely underachieve. This lowers the ability of these “high performers” to be pushed to their personal academic best; and benefit from the experience of intense academic competition. The clearest path to a STEM major graduation may go through schools like Spelman (Georgia) or Xavier (Louisiana); at the very least these schools see the successful graduation of their STEM students as central to the mission of the school.