How many students in your neighborhood graduate ready for college?
A new report, “Is Demography Still Destiny?”, released today by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, a leading nonpartisan research organization affiliated with Brown University, reveals new evidence that after a decade of expanded high school choice—five hundred new small schools and one hundred new charter schools—New York City neighborhoods with the highest percentages of African-American and Latino residents still have lowest college readiness rates. Analyzing data from the New York City Department of Education and U.S. Census Bureau, the report shows that racial demographics and average neighborhood income are strong predictors of whether students graduate ready for college.
Outraged parents, elected officials, students, and community leaders gathered in front of Pace University to discuss the report and demand that Mayor Bloomberg and his Department of Education address this shameful failure to prepare students for college. Participants included City Comptroller John Liu, former Comptroller and Board of Education President Bill Thompson, City Council Education Chair Robert Jackson, college students, members of the Professional Staff Congress from CUNY, and 100 parents from the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice.
Parents held up 100 balloons, 13 green and 87 red, to visualize the alarming statistic of only 13% African-American and Latino students graduating prepared for college.
Also, the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice launched an interactive map that enables parents and other key stakeholders to track the percentage of students graduating college-ready in every neighborhood. The map is at www.nyccej.org/college-readiness.
“My neighborhood is 100% Black & Latino, and only 11% college ready,” said Natasha Capers parent from PS 298 in Brownsville, the neighborhood with the lowest college readiness rate in BK, “I’m angry that in 2012, the race and income of my neighborhood, still determines the chances of my two sons graduating ready for college—I’m fighting to make sure the next Mayor in 2013 finally implements successful models that will get my kids ready for college.”
“It’s clear from the report that school choice alone will not help youth of color achieve stronger educational outcomes. By failing to address existing patterns of inequality, we are limiting educational opportunities for those with the greatest need. We need to move the focus of our educational policy debates from structural issues and teacher contracts to more concrete ways of improving elementary and middle schools, and a greater role for guidance and counseling supports in the daily lives of our students,” said David Jones, President of the Community Service Society
“During my high school experience there was a total disconnect,” said Domingo Estevez, a student from Borough of Manhattan Community College, “instead of a supportive school with a relevant curriculum, all I found at the school were low expectations, test-prep drilling and an under-resourced school, all of which led me to drop out my 3rd year in high school. Now in college, I’m spending hundreds of dollars on remedial classes—I wish the high school I went to had made a real effort to keep me enrolled and get me prepared for college.”