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The High School Journal 87.1 (2003) 1-3

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James L. Moore III

All across America, many professionals - educators, counselors, administrators, researchers, and policy makers - share the view point that the nation's public educational system has a responsibility to ensure that all students are equipped to enter the ever-evolving global and technological workforce (Aspen Institute, 2002; Carnevale & Desrochers, 2003; Employment Policy Foundation, 2001). The importance of public schools to the economic prosperity for this nation and its citizens is, of course, an important issue (Southern Education Foundation, 1995, 1999, 2002a, 2002b). Unfortunately, current national statistics in education suggest that public education is not meeting the needs of all student populations (College Board, 1997, 1999; U.S. Department of Education, 2000a, 2000b). As a result, a number of national as well as state educational policies have emerged in recent years to reform public elementary, middle, and secondary schools (U.S. Department of Education, 2002).

Contemporary educational policies reflect desperate measures to improve educational outcomes for all students in American schools, particularly for students of color. The main thrust of these educational reforms is to "raise the bar" for student achievement, while holding public schools accountable. Too often, students of color, such as African Americans and Latinos, find themselves being educated in public schools that are failing to meet educational standards (Council of Great City Schools, 1999; Elam, Lowell & Gallop, 1992). There are a number of variables that interact to impede the academic performance of these students such as chronic poverty, negative interactions with teachers and counselors, and inadequate parental support, guidance and involvement (Boykin, 1986; Fields, 1988; Ford, 1994; Murry & Mosidi, 1993).

In order to improve the educational predicament for African Americans and Latinos, it is important that educational researchers and experts continue to produce cultural-specific scholarship and research that can be used to help educational professionals with promoting academic success for diverse student populations. This special theme issue, "Addressing the [End Page 1] Needs of Multicultural Populations in Educational Settings: Implications for Teachers and Counselors," explores the educational experiences and academic outcomes of African Americans and Latino students. In addition, it provides an excellent overview of different factors (i.e., psychological, social, and cultural) that influence student outcomes for African American and Latinos. It is intended that this special theme issue will add to the body of literature as well as contribute to the national discourse on developing ways to improve academic achievement for diverse student populations.

Although this special theme issue was conceptualized with teachers and counselors in mind, many of the articles are applicable to a number of other important individuals (i.e., parents, administrators, and researchers). In the first article, Tyrone C. Howard investigates, through qualitative research procedures, African American high school students' perceptions of their academic identities. This article reveals how parents, teachers, and counselors significantly influence the academic identities of African American high school students. More importantly, the article offers insights for helping African American high school students develop healthy and positive perceptions of their academic abilities. In the second article, Tarek C. Grantham and Donna Y. Ford focus on the affective and psychological needs of gifted African American students. The authors advocate that educators need to better understand the racial identity development of African American students in order to improve their academic achievement. In addition, an overview of the issues facing gifted African American students is presented and suggestions are made to improve the academic conditions for this special student population. In the third article, Leon D. Caldwell and Kamau O. Siwatu introduce a seminar framework for promoting academic persistence for African American and Latino high school students. The authors pilot their proposed seminar framework with Upward Bound students and suggest that this intervention should be used with other summer pre-college initiatives for African American and Latino students. In the fourth article, Lamont A. Flowers, H. Richard Milner, and James L. Moore III examine, using data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988, the effects of locus of control on African American high school seniors' educational aspirations. The three authors conclude with implications for inservice and preservice...


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