Having Just One Black Teacher Can Keep Black Kids In School

NPR report on a study of in-group educators and outcomes.

Article Link: Having Just One Black Teacher Can Keep Black Kids In School

Study Link: The Long-Run Impacts of Same-Race Teachers

Black primary-school students matched to a same-race teacher perform better on standardized tests and face more favorable teacher perceptions, yet little is known about the long-run, sustained impacts of student-teacher demographic match.

We show that assigning a black male to a black teacher in the third, fourth, or fifth grades significantly reduces the probability that he drops out of high school, particularly among the most economically disadvantaged black males. Exposure to at least one black teacher in grades 3-5 also increases the likelihood that persistently low-income students of both sexes aspire to attend a four-year college.

These findings are robust across administrative data from two states and multiple identification strategies, including an instrumental variables strategy that exploits within-school, intertemporal variation in the proportion of black teachers, family fixed-effects models that compare siblings who attended the same school, and the random assignment of students and teachers to classrooms created by the Project STAR class-size reduction experiment.

What Can Stop Kids From Dropping Out

New York Times investigates college completion.  Georgia State managed to increase college completion while recruiting poorer students.

Article Link: What Can Stop Kids From Dropping Out

To cite one comparison, North Carolina State and Auburn enroll similar students, but the two universities have significantly different track records for the years 2003 through 2013. N.C. State raised minority students’ graduation rates by 12 percentage points during that time, nearly halving the gap between them and white students, while graduation rates for underrepresented students at Auburn actually declined and the gap grew to more than 20 percentage points.

It doesn’t require a genius to change the story line. Universities must give students personalized attention and useful academic feedback, leveraging technology to support them at scale. That’s Ivy League-style ministration, adapted for mass higher education. And it won’t break the bank.

A decade ago, Georgia State University — racially segregated until the 1960s and a stone’s throw from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthplace — was a poor-performing, big urban institution with low graduation rates and yawningly wide racial gaps. But even as the student body has become poorer and more ethnically and racially diverse, the overall graduation rate has climbed to 56 percent from 41 percent.

Even more remarkably, minority students, first-generation students and low-income students with federal Pell grants are earning degrees at a higher rate than their white peers.

Georgia State didn’t “solve” its dropout problem by recruiting better-pedigreed students. It found a model for the students they had. “Despite the conventional wisdom, demographics are not destiny,” Timothy Renick, the vice president for enrollment management and student success, told me.

Race, income, and enrollment patterns in highly selective colleges, 1982-2004

A Stanford overview study of race, income, and enrollment.

Study Link: Race, income, and enrollment patterns in highly selective colleges, 1982-2004

Where a student attends college has become increasingly important in the last few decades. As education has grown significantly more important in the labor market, competition among students for access to the most selective colleges and universities has grown as well.

In this brief we examine patterns of enrollment, by race and family income, in the most selective colleges and universities. We also simulate racial and socioeconomic patterns of admission to selective colleges under several types of “race-blind” admissions policies, including policies like the Top Ten Percent admissions policy currently in use in Texas and a similar policy in California.

For the analyses in this study, we rely on data from three national longitudinal studies of students in the high school classes of 1982, 1992, and 2004.

Entire senior class at D.C.’s Ballou High School applies to college

Higher expectations from admin encourages entire senior class to apply for college.

Article Link: Entire senior class at D.C.’s Ballou High School applies to college

Ballou ranks among the city’s lowest-performing high schools on core measures.

Its graduation rate last school year, 57 percent, was second-lowest among regular schools in the D.C. Public Schools system, behind Anacostia High’s rate of 42 percent. (That comparison doesn’t include alternative schools.) Last school year, 3 percent of Ballou students tested met reading standards on citywide standardized exams. Almost none met math standards.

Despite these challenges, administrators said it was the Class of 2017 that decided all seniors would apply to college. The students themselves set the ambitious goal last spring. Administrators say they never doubted the students would meet it.