Metro Center Releases Findings on Black and Latino Drop-out Crisis in NYC

Despite perhaps having the best urban education system in the country, New York City suffers from a drop-out crisis among Black and Latino youth, according to a new report from researchers at the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education.

Convening a large audience of educators, policy makers, and education activists for a public presentation of its findings last month, the Metro Center revealed startling statistics about drop-out rates among Black and Latino adolescents in New York City. Only roughly 44 percent of Black and Latino students in the city graduate after six years. Nearly one in five Latino males of the 2006-2007 graduating cohort of public school students dropped out, while approximately one in seven Black students dropped out.

Pedro Noguera, executive director of the Metro Center and Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at NYU Steinhardt, led the presentation on the Center’s findings, and remarked that “despite progress, including a greater number of high performing, high poverty schools than anywhere else, certain groups in New York City are not getting by.” He noted that African American students who drop out are likely to see significant negative life outcomes, such as incarceration and unemployment.

The study, which was supported by the Donor’s Education Collaborative and was prepared by the Black and Latino Advocacy Coalition, seeks to shed light on the factors that contribute to the disproportionate number of African American and Latino students who drop out. The group hopes its finds will influence policy regarding school retention for these at-risk groups.

Among the group’s findings are some of the common characteristics of those students who drop out. Black and Latino drop-outs tend to be overage compared to their peer groups, tend to repeat one or more grade levels, and do not accumulate sufficient credits early in their high school career.

The report finds that ninth grade is a critical point of intervention for Black and Latino males at risk for dropping out. The authors suggest a number of policy and practice recommendations for educators and policy makers, including establishing an early warning system for students at risk, intensive intervention services, and identifying effective strategies to help those students who are already behind in credit accumulation.

Responding to the Center’s finds was a panel of education practitioners and experts, including the Honorable Merryl H. Tisch, chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, Santiago Taveras, deputy chancellor, NYC Dept. of Education; David Banks; founder, Eagle Academy for Young Men; Juan Mendez, principal, Enterprise, Business, and Technology High School; and Roger Blissett, managing director, US Strategy RBC Capital Markets.

Read the full Metro Center report on the drop-out crisis.

Pictured left to right: Taveras, Mendez, Mary Brabeck, dean of NYU Steinhardt, Tisch, Banks, Blissett, Noguera.

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