Research Alliance Pinpoints ‘Leaky Pipeline’


Among New York City students scheduled to graduate in 2010, only 9 percent of black males and 11 percent of Latino males graduated “college ready.” While graduation rates have been improving across the city, college and career readiness rates remain low, particularly for young men of color.


In its latest report, “Moving the Needle: Exploring Key Levers to Boost College Readiness Among Black and Latino Males in New York City,” the Research Alliance for New York City Schools identifies critical points where black and Latino males fall off the path to college and offers recommendations for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Expanded Success Initiative (ESI)—a central component of his Young Men’s Initiative, a program supported by the Open Society Foundation and dedicated to addressing disparities between young black and Latino men and their peers, related to education, health, employment, and the criminal justice system.


The report identifies important areas of focus for ESI schools as they work to improve postsecondary outcomes for young men of color. These include focusing explicitly on college readiness, investing resources in the ninth grade, increasing access to rigorous coursework and providing needed academic support, enhancing socio-emotional supports, and training school staff in culturally responsive education.


“ESI addresses several areas that our analyses suggest are important,” says Adriana Villavicencio, research associate and the report’s lead author. “In addition to examining the academic trajectories of black and Latino male students, we used New York City data, national data, and relevant literature to examine underlying ‘opportunity gaps’—a concept that challenges us to think about the inequalities some students face before they even enter the school building. These factors are critical to consider as we work to improve college and career readiness.”


The Research Alliance was commissioned to evaluate the success of the ESI program beginning in September of 2012 and will conclude its evaluation in the spring of 2016.


September of 2012 marked the official launch of ESI, which is investing $250,000 in each of 40 high schools over two and a half years. The schools are implementing or expanding strategies related to academics, youth development, and school culture, all designed to increase college and career readiness among black and Latino males. Findings from the evaluation will be published independently by the Research Alliance for New York City Schools beginning later this year.

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