More minorities needed in the Governor's Scholars Program

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by Rachel Platt

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 24 at 9:27 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It is brainstorming at its best, the best minds from Kentucky high schools.

Rising seniors are chosen to be in the Governor's Scholars Program because of good grades, test scores, leadership and recommendations.

About one thousand Governor's Scholars spending five weeks at three college campuses.

Scholars at Bellarmine University built a space out of bailing twine, that's large enough for everyone in their class, Wednesday.

It requires math skills, critical thinking, science, even art, with no right or wrong answer.

The students may be our future economic and civic leaders with bigger issues to solve.

Working side by side with students from different counties and different backgrounds is an important goal because the world is a diverse place, but diversity is one area the Governor's Scholars Program, also known as GSP, is falling short and has since the early '90s.

Mark Harvey, from Iroquois High School, may be on the endangered list because he's African American and a male.

African Americans ages 15 to 19 make up roughly 10 percent of Kentucky's population, yet only about 4.2 percent make up GSP.

Males make up 51 percent of Kentucky's population, yet only 39 percent are Governor's Scholars.

More: Survey finds strong support for public charter schools

GSP overachieves with Whites and Asians, but falls short with Hispanics as well.
 
A shortage of some minorities wasn’t just noticed by this investigation, but by the program itself.

GSP says it has to do better and it will.

Aris Cedeno is the Executive Director of GSP and gives the group a 'C' in diversity.

Cedeno said GSP is now exploring more connections in minority communities and building stronger relationships with teachers and counselors who can recruit students.

That's exactly how Mark Harvey got into GSP, a counselor who gave him no choice but to go.

GSP said it may also re-evaluate how it judges students.

Diversity for GSP isn't just racial, it's geographical and intellectual. Leaders say you have to be careful, don’t just promote one group at the expense of other qualified candidates.

Not Black and White but it is crucial for minorities at local schools to see someone who looks like them in the program, the students in GSP, the best ambassadors.

GSP is unlocking doors, but having to make sure those doors are opening for everyone.

More: Survey finds strong support for public charter schools

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