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Examining the Every Student Succeeds Act’s Impact on African American Students’ Mental Health Access


by Larry J. Walker — 2018

African American students from underserved communities throughout the United States are exposed to a variety of traumas, including community and intrafamilial violence. Far too often, members of the school-based staff misinterpret combative student behaviors, which are viewed as acts of defiance. However, the factors that contribute to academic and/or emotional problems are not properly contextualized. Ensuring that students have access to comprehensive mental health services is critical. Historically, school districts have depended heavily on federal resources to address the mental health needs of students from minority and low socioeconomic backgrounds. For this reason, examining the Every Student Succeeds Act’s (ESSA’s) new block grant program, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant, is important. Under ESSA, several programs were consolidated or eliminated. The grant funds the Safe Schools/Healthy Students initiative, which focuses on mental health, among other issues. This article examines how a shift in federal policy could affect mental health access among African American students from underserved backgrounds.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 120 Number 13, 2018, p. -
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22349, Date Accessed: 7/22/2018 7:49:51 PM

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About the Author
  • Larry Walker
    Independent Researcher
    E-mail Author
    LARRY J. WALKER is an independent researcher and former Congressional Fellow, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and served as the legislative director for Congressman Major R. Owens. Dr. Walker’s research includes teacher education, policy, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and mental health. Dr. Walker has authored/coauthored several publications, including, A Dream Deferred: How Trauma Impacts the Academic Achievement of African-American Youth; Why Are We All Here? Reflections of an African-American Male; and Disrupting the Myth of Black Male Inferiority. In addition, he coedited a book titled, Graduate Education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A Student Perspective.
 
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