POLICY AND ADVOCACY
Out of School Youth Coalition
The Out of School Youth Coalition, a coalition composed of social service providers, advocates and researchers, released a new report documenting the problem of overage middle school students in New York City. The report was written by Advocates For Children of New York (AFC). In recent years, community-based providers and school officials that serve students in the public school system have been noticing a disturbing number of sixteen-year-old seventh graders or seventeen-year-old eighth graders who are appearing (or staying) in middle schools across the city. The NYC DOE does not make data on overage middle schoolers publicly available, but educators and advocates working in this field have evidence that the population is substantial. In nine middle schools in the Bronx that serve a combined student population of over 6,000 students, 26% of the students are overage. The report profiles a diverse cross-section of overage middle school students, identifies promising practices for addressing the problem, and provides detailed recommendations to the DOE. Read the press release or download the full report.
RESEARCH & EVALUATION
Report: The Many Dimensions of Racial Inequity by Richard Rothstein, Tisch Professor, Teacher’s College, Columbia University and Tamara Wilder, Ph.D. candidate, Politics and Education.
Out of School, Out of Work, Out of Luck? New York City’s Disconnected Youth by Mark Levitan, Senior Policy Analyst (Community Service Society, January 2005).
The 2006 State Report Card: Public Education & Black Male Students by M. Holzman (Schott Foundation for Public Education, 2006).
Fixing the Holes by Michael Bobelian (Minority Law Journal, Student Ed., Fall 2006).
In an effort to increase diversity among their lawyers, many law firms dedicate large amounts of time and resources to recruit minority students fresh out of law school. However, these firms are discovering that the supply of minority law school graduates is limited. For the nonprofit organization, Legal Outreach, the best approach to encouraging minority students to become lawyers is to invest continually at every stage of academic development. Through its Summer Law Internship program, Legal Outreach provides high-school students in underserved communities throughout the New York metropolitan area with work experience at more than 25 major law firms, including Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. The Summer Law Internship program motivates students to strive for academic success. The intellectual rigor of its Law-Related Education and College Bound programs have helped students build the skills and confidence needed to achieve their goals, including admission into colleges, post-graduate programs, and law schools. Founded in 1983, Legal Outreach is reputedly one of the best examples of an early-intervention pipeline-to-the-legal-profession program.
Press Release: Secretary Spellings Addresses 2006 Nationally Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference (U.S. Department of Education, September 12, 2006).
The United States Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, recently addressed a gathering during the 2006 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference. Secretary Spellings announced at the conference that, while the achievement gaps between minority students and their white peers have reached record lows in the early grades, educators needed to better serve both African American students and students from low-income families. Spellings stressed the need to maintain high standards and accountability in the grade-school years and to offer more challenging coursework to help prepare students for college and the workforce.
Blacks May Gain as UCLA Moves to Alter Admissions by Rebecca Trounson (Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2006).
Beginning with its Fall 2007 freshman class, the University of California at Los Angeles Academic Senate will institute a major shift in the university’s admissions process. Sparked by the low number of African Americans and Latinos enrolling at UCLA this fall, the changes are the most dramatic in at least five years. Commonly described by educators as a “comprehensive admissions review” process, the university’s new admissions policy considers students’ academic achievements in the wider context of their personal and socioeconomic circumstances, including unique talents and a demonstrated ability to overcome adversity. Instead of reviewing an applicant’s academic and personal achievements separately, an applicant’s complete file will be reviewed at the same time.
Program Motivates Young Black Males to do Well, Attend College by Lucas L. Johnson II (Associated Press, August 26, 2006).
This past summer, Vanderbilt University launched its first Summer Scholar Identity Institute, a program aimed at changing the self-image of black male teenagers and closing the test-score gap between minority students and their white peers. The program motivates young black men to excel in school and to consider college a priority. The 2006 inaugural program was attended by 100 young men, most between the ages of 13 and 15 and ranging academically from special-education to honor-roll students. The Institute took academic research and put it into practice by teaching nine “constructs” of a scholarly black student, with self-efficacy (including self-confidence, personal faith and a sense of responsibility) being the most important. The Institute is also seeking to create the Vanderbilt Achievement Gap Center, an academic training center that will prepare teachers to deal with the achievement gap as they enter “minority-majority” classrooms.
Minority and Low-Income Students Benefit from Postbaccalaureate Premedical Programs (University of California, San Francisco, News Office, News Release, September 5, 2006).
Researchers have found that postbaccalaureate premedical programs are a valuable tool for increasing the number of disadvantaged and underrepresented students entering medical school. The study, which appears in the September 6, 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first of its kind to use rigorous scientific methods to evaluate whether these programs are effective in addressing the lack of racial and ethnic diversity among physicians in America. Over the course of several years, the study compared a sample of 265 students who were accepted into the University of California’s postbaccalaureate premedical programs to a control group of 396 college graduates who applied, but were denied admission, to the same postbaccalaureate premedical programs. The study concluded that 67.6% of the programs’ participants compared to only 22.5% of the nonparticipant control group were ultimately admitted and enrolled in medical school.