Young Black And Latino Men Are, In Fact, Going To College

Career College Central summary:

  • In his research on achievement by black males in higher education, University of Pennsylvania Prof. Shaun Harper–director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education–didn't try to answer why the failure rate of minority students is so high. Instead, he set out to see what could be learned from the students who were succeeding. As a follow-up to that work, Harper has focused on young men poised to make the leap into higher education.
  • Harper and his team of research assistants recently interviewed 325 New York City high school students of color–just over half were black, and 43 percent were Latino. Roughly half the students came from single-parent homes, and close to three-quarters of them would be the first in their family to attend college. Most of them were from working class and low-income families.
  • The students were drawn from a mix of 40 campuses with varying records of prior academic success. These were not the city’s elite exam schools, although many of them had smaller student bodies than is typical. College recruiters rarely, if ever, visit these schools.
  • At the schools the research teams found innovative principals and dedicated staff often taking on multiple duties in order to make sure students’ needs are being met. The campuses were not charter schools, Harper said, adding that “people erroneously conclude that these kinds of environments can only occur in charter schools.” But it’s also worth pointing out that the campuses are offshoots of New York City’s initiative to break up massive high schools into smaller learning communities with hundreds (instead of thousands) of students. In some cases individual high schools in the study shared a building with other programs, each on its own floor.

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