New York City Black and Latino Male High School Achievement Study

Black and Latino male students’ academic underachievement and disengagement, as well as their dismal high school graduation and college matriculation rates are among the most pressing and complex educational issues in the United States. Through its Expanded Success Initiative (ESI), the New York City Department of Education has firmly committed itself to significantly increasing the number of Black and Latino young men who complete high school prepared to succeed in college. 

The anti-deficit achievement framework constructed for the National Black Male College Achievement Study has been adapted for this comprehensive study of Black and Latino men in 40 NYC public high schools. The framework inverts questions that are commonly asked about educational disadvantage, underperformance, and disengagement, and instead pursues instructive insights into the enablers of achievement. Put differently, instead of examining why Black and Latino male students fail, drop out, are suspended and expelled at higher rates, and so on, this study seeks to understand the individual, familial/communal, and school factors that enabled these men to succeed in high school and prepared them for college.

A team of 13 researchers from the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education are spending 10 weeks in NYC conducting two-hour individual interviews with 325 Black and Latino male high school juniors and seniors who maintain GPAs above 3.0, are engaged in a variety of clubs and leadership roles in school, intend to enroll in college immediately upon graduating from high school, and have taken a sequence of courses (so far) that will qualify them for admission to four-year postsecondary institutions. Face-to-face individual interviews are being conducted with students in these 40 public schools:

The study also includes a subsample of 90 Black and Latino male undergraduates who have graduated from the 40 ESI high schools and are presently enrolled in community colleges and four-year postsecondary institutions across NYC. 

A report that presents key findings from the 400 individual interviews and offers numerous forward-thinking recommendations for educators, parents and families, policymakers, and other relevant stakeholders will be released in September 2013. Beyond their participation in this research study, the 400 young men of color will become part of a network that advises each other on the college application process, shares insights on successfully navigating their ways to and through higher education, and identifies educational resources from which they as well as other Black and Latino male students can benefit.

This study is funded by the Open Society Foundations.