Problem Statement

In the most recent decades, there has been a spiraling national trend of social and academic underachievement on the part of Black males. There are striking disparities between the rates of academic failings, unemployment, and poverty amongst Black males and other comparable male groups spread across the American landscape. This current and seemingly persistent pattern of negative life outcomes amongst Black males has become a profoundly difficult American issue. The reality of this “national emergency” warrants an intentional effort on the part of educators to purposefully implement contextualized curricular models and culturally appropriate teaching modalities that will psychologically empower Black males and reverse this population’s trend of academic underachievement.

The EduPsychoSocial Philosophy on the Problem of Underachievement in Black Males

Nature vs. Nurture - Can Black Males be Educated?
If you believe Black males are hereditarily cursed and doomed by nature than you will assume that Black males are underperforming due to genetic deficiencies and ultimately any effort made to educate this population is a waste of time, money and other precious social resources. If you believe that the phenomena of underperformance in the Black male population is the result of nurture, then you will believe that environmental deficits and societal barriers are the essential causes of Black male underachievement. The EPS philosophy attributes the academic struggles of Black males to psychological struggles which are rooted in toxic sociocultural experiences encountered during the childhood and adolescent stages of development.

The EduPsychoSocial Theory of Causation: Race-Specific Educational Issues are related to Race-Specific Psychological Issues which are related to Race-Specific Social Experiences

During the adolescent stage of human growth and development, teens are tasked with developing an identity. During these formative years, adolescents experience tumultuous emotions, distorted perceptions and confusing biological changes. During this stage of psychological sensitivity and emotional vulnerability, Black males are systematically indoctrinated by an ideology that propagates the idea that Black males are inferior, incapable and essentially a national liability. Research has consistently demonstrated that Black male adolescent are targeted for social stigma more than any other category of American citizen. Sadly and consequently, at a very early age, Black males understand that the world views them, because of their appearance, through a perpetual lens of negativity and repulsion.

This consistent pattern of inferiorizing communication comes during a time when young maturing minds lack the psychological sophistication, life experience and brain development required to engage in the level of critical thinking necessary to guard against the internalization of these negative messages. This lack of an effective psychological defense system in the face of a seemingly relentless and unavoidable stigmatizing messaging system, more times than not, leads to destructive internalization and the ultimate construction of a failure schema.

During the formative years, the egocentric adolescent brain believes that life centers around him and that he is on the worlds stage being judged, critiqued and defined. During this profoundly impressionable stage, Black boys are being tragically racialized and stigmatized to the point that psychological exhaustion is inevitable. In the end, we now as a society, are left to pick up the tab on the cost of underperformance from a category of American citizens who were socially engineered for failure. Note: If you put 100 White boys through these same stigmatic psyche shaping experiences we would be achieving the same statistical results.

Rationale for the EduPsychoSocial Framework

We live in a race sensitive, race driven and racially divided society. Racism is fundamentally defined as the internal belief that one race is superior to another race. Since we live in a racialized culture and Black males are nationally treated, according to research, as the lowest category of American citizen, they are by default incapable of escaping or avoiding routine exposure to inferiorizing communication. So starting from a blank slate, stigma and rejection are the building blocks of the Black male Belief System (belief about self, life and future), Value System (what really matters, what personally responsible for and what is respectable) and Self-System (personal sense of efficacy, esteem and image) are stigma and rejection. These building blocks of stigma and rejection become infrastructures of hopelessness which evolve into jaded belief systems (internally or externally incapable of attaining American Dream), a socially ineffective value systems (misguided motivations) and disempowering self-systems (no power, no value and no dignity).

The EPS framework is guided by the principle that the Belief, Value and Self-System work together to determine perception and that perception ultimately determines response system.  With this in mind, it can be theorized that as a result of destructive internalization, Black boys psychologically evolve into Black men with who perceive themselves, the world, life and the future through a perceptual lens of negativity, rejection and alienation. Ultimately, in the face of situations or challenges that require hope, the hopeless Black male is statistically more likely to respond with maladaptive coping, escapism, avoidance and self-sabotage.

In the spirit of this theory and reason, the immediate goal of EPS Framework is to re-condition, re-engineer, re-build and re-program the Belief System, Value System, and Self System of the Black male.

The EduPsychoSocial Intervention: A Social Miracle?

The unresponsiveness of Black males to the American system of education is an indication that the American education system lacks the capacity to pick up enough pieces of the fragmented Black male to improve his chances of adequate academic and social performance. The American education system must make a deliberate effort to provide Black males with contextualized learning environments (culturally appropriate information, people, ideas, support, resources, social networks, etc.) that are capable of building the psychological skill set required for sustained engagement with the process of being educated (hope, motivation, focus, resilience, impulse control, delayed gratification, confidence). Until this happens,  America’s education system will never have the capacity necessary to educate Black males. College plays a significant role in psyche shaping and human development. With this in mind, educators should make it a professional and moral obligation to provide Black males with a learning environment capable of fostering positive development and reversing the Black male’s trajectory towards academic failure.

The EduPsychoSocial Purpose

The EPS framework functions on the principal that Black males have race-specific social experiences. These race-specific social experiences lead to race specific psychological experiences which in turn has led to the current trend of race-specific academic underachievement in Black male college students.

The EPS Framework strives to reverse or at best minimize the impact of these negative developmental experiences by providing Black males with a platform for experiencing positive young adulthood experiences.  These positive young adult experiences are delivered via culturally appropriate social, psychological and educational modalities.

The EduPsychoSocial Culturally-Appropriate Structure and Function

Racism, stigma and discrimination have resulted in deep histories of failure, disappointment, vulnerability, poverty, set back and unmet socio-emotional needs for Black males. These harsh developmental experiences necessitate an immediate immersion in a learning environment that possess culturally appropriate stimuli (i.e. people, info, ideas, activities, experiences, historical context, motivational cues, etc.) that addresses culture specific needs is critical. These young minds have slowly and sequentially prepared themselves for failure and have subconsciously given themselves permission to live out the self-fulfilled social prophecy that has haunted them since a very young age. If these young minds are not strategically and immediately engaged in positive young adult experiences within the first few weeks of any given semester, they will consciously as well as subconsciously look for signs of failure and opportunities to escape. So what does the EPS framework do to shield these young minds from a social prophecy that has been haunting them for essentially all their lives?

The EduPsychoSocial Framework is a holistically contextualized program strategically designed to meet the culture specific educational and psychosocial needs of Black males. The EduPsychoSocial Framework functions as a programmatic curriculum that utilizes qualitative risks analysis, resource matching, case management, relational learning, prescriptive advising, career development and leadership development as a means of curtailing academic underperformance. The EPS Framework strategically engages its evolving students with enriching developmental activities and exercises that sequentially build into these developing minds, the psychological skill set and developmental assets necessary for achieving academic success! This leading practice can be replicated and integrated into an already established pipeline to success or function as a standalone program for educating Black males.

A 3-year Pilot Using the EduPsychoSocial Curricular Framework

The EPS Framework for educating and empowering Black males was integrated into a leadership development program housed at a mid-sized urban community college.

First: Focus groups were conducted to gather qualitative data on the various educational, psychological and social barriers that complicate the academic performance of Black male community college students.

Second: The EPS model was contextualized around the focus group participants self-reported social, psychological and educational risks and barriers.

Third: A data driven curriculum was developed and integrated into the now EPS framed leadership development program.

EduPsychoSocial Construction Training Workshop

Workshop Title 
Integrating the EPS Curricular Framework at your Institution: Researching and Developing Contextualized Learning Curriculums that Improve Student Performance

Workshop Objective
This 3-Day workshop provides instruction for creating a racially contextualized learning environment for Black males to thrive! Workshop participants will gain incite and learn innovative approaches for strategically integrating the EPS model for educating Black males into their organizational environment. This workshop systematically outlines the appropriate steps necessary for implementing the empirically proven EPS Curricular Framework at your institution. Let the IAAP conduct this workshop for your organization and learn step-by-step how to integrate the EPS programmatic curriculum at your organization.

E.P.S. Construction Training Package Includes:

- 3 Day E.P.S. Construction Training 
- 5 EPS Step-by-Step Construction Manuals
- 5 EPS Toolkits
- 20 Hours of Post-workshop Consultation

Contact the IAAP for more details on pricing and availability!


A Programmatic Model for Empowering and Educating Black Males


"Using psychological science to create equal opportunities to the American Dream"