Dr. Ivory Toldson (pictured), deputy director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), was in Memphis Thursday to speak at LeMoyne-Owen College. Dr. Toldson kicked off SchoolSeed‘s speakers series, an organization that serves as a fiscal agent for the $90 million educational grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Memphis.
Toldson’s talk, titled “HBCUs and the Achievement Gap: Seeding Success for Black Male Students,” had a specific aim of sharing how HBCUs could aid aspiring young Black male students to improve their educational success. In especially frank terms, Toldson spoke to attendees about narrowing the gap and said that test scores are being misused as “scare tactics.”
Toldson was critical of Memphis statewide tests as well, saying tests are being used to, “shame schools, make parents feel bad or to scare people. I think tests can be useful, but they are being misused right now.”
The deputy director for the White House Initiatives on Historically Black Colleges and Universities paid Memphis a visit Thursday.
Dr. Ivory Toldson met with high school and college students to start a conversation about the academic gap between students, particularly Black male students.
“From where I came from, it was just something you hear about it, but to actually be here is a blessing,” said East High School senior Jalon Netters.
“I think Memphis has a lot of good ideas,” said Dr. Ivory Toldson. “I think they have a long way to go.”
Toldson was in town to talk to educators about graduations rates, test scores, and the overall gap in academic success.