Students & Parents Slam “Mayor 13%” Education Record
(New York, NY – January 19, 2012) Fed up with abysmal college preparedness and attendance numbers under the Bloomberg Administration, the City’s largest student- and parent-led organizations decried the mayor’s failed reforms at a press conference on the steps of City Hall today, and called for specific changes to education department policies.
Parents and students have labeled Mayor Bloomberg as “Mayor 13%” for his administration’s failure to prepare 87 percent of Black and Latino students for college. Furthermore, his administration’s track record is as follows:
- Just one-in-four students overall are prepared for college under Bloomberg, and just 39 percent of public high school graduates last year reported they would be attending four-year colleges the following fall.
- There are 36 schools where more than half of students graduate ready for college and 306 schools where less than half do.
- There are 243 schools where less than 25% of students graduate ready for college and only 22 schools where more than 75% of students graduate ready for college
- The schools in the city with the fewest Black, Latino and low-income populations prepare students for college at more than four times the rate of our schools with the largest number of Black, Latino, and low-income students.
“It’s a shame that, as a student, all my college support came from outside of the Department of Education,” said Belmont Preparatory High School senior Chima Agwu, 19. “Even more shameful is that only 13% of Black and Latino students graduate college ready. With the DOE grading and assessing schools based of how many students graduate college ready, it’s only fair that all schools get the resources necessary to ensure that all students get to college. As much as I am thankful for the community organization that supported me through the college application process, it is the DOE’s responsibility.”
“New York City’s youth are facing a crisis,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “If we’re not able to improve college readiness for our public school students, then we’re ensuring that these students will continue to be unable to compete for the new jobs being created in this city. I’m calling on everyone, whether they are from DOE, CUNY or the Board of Regents, to make a commitment to implementing a comprehensive college readiness plan, so that we can give every student the opportunity to succeed.”
The press conference was followed by a hearing of the Council’s education and higher education committees at which the Department of Education was asked pointed questions on their poor college preparedness and attendance records. Members of the Urban Youth Collaborative and Coalition for Educational Justice also testified.
Students and parents argued that DOE is now holding high schools accountable for how many of their graduates enroll in college, but that it has raised the standards and stakes without providing adequate funding and support to schools to meet this new mandate. In response, they made specific policy demands to improve college preparedness and attendance, including:
- College Counselors: There is currently no line in the NYC DOE budget for a college counselor, despite the abundance of evidence showing that they have a dramatic impact on college-going rates and financial support for college, especially for students who are the first in their family to go to college or are undocumented. Every school should have one well-trained college counselor for every 100 seniors, who starts working with students as early as 9th grade.
- Student Success Centers (SSCs) train high school students to help other students navigate every step of the college process, and have significantly improved college acceptances and financial aid packages. The SSCs have also played a critical role in creating school-wide “college going cultures” across the entire school campus and have effectively served undocumented students. The DOE must maintain support for the existing SSCs & launch additional ones at low-performing multi-campus high schools.
- Distributive Guidance is a proven model of teachers supporting students through the college process in advisories. The DOE must ensure that schools using this model provide teachers with ongoing training, adequate time to fulfill their college support role, and the necessary resources for the program.
- Centralized funding to help create these effective and comprehensive college access supports.