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Is Demography Still Destiny? A Research & Policy Briefing

Is Demography Still Destiny? A Research & Policy Briefing

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Neighborhood Demographics and Public High School Students’ Readiness for College in New York City. Published by the Anneberg Institute for School Reform.

Neighborhood Demographics and Public High School Students’ Readiness for College in New York City. Published by the Anneberg Institute for School Reform.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: City Limits (New York) on Jan 06, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Is DemographyStill Dest iny?
Neighborhood Demographics andPublic High School Students’ ReadinessforCollege in New York City
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The Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) is a national policy-research and reform-support organiza- tion, affiliated with Brown University, that focuses on improving conditions and outcomes for all students inurban public schools, especially those attended by traditionally underserved children. AISR’s vision is the transformation of traditional school systems into “smart education systems” that develop and integrate high-quality learning opportunities in all areas of students’ lives – at school, at home, and in the community.AISR conducts research; works with a variety of partners committed to educational improvement to buildcapacity in school districts and communities; and shares its work through print and Web publications. Rather than providing a specific reform design or model to be implemented, AISR’s approach is to offer an array of tools and strategies to help districts and communities strengthen their local capacity to provide and sustainhigh-quality education for all students.Written byNorm FruchterMegan HesterChristina MokhtarZach ShahnEditingMargaret Balch-GonzalezGraphic DesignHaewon KimThe authors would like to acknowledge Leonard Rodberg for access to the Infoshare Community InformationSystem – a computerized database that allows community groups, nonprofit organizations, and others toaccess demographic, health, and economic information about New York City at different geographic levels –and for assistance in identifying the overlap between New York City zip codes and neighborhoods.Suggested Citation: Fruchter, N. M, M. Hester, C. Mokhtar, and Z. Shahn. 2012.
Is Demography Still Destiny? Neighborhood Demographics and Public High School Students’ Readiness for College in New York City.
Providence, RI: Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Brown University.This publication is available online at: http://annenberginstitute.org/product/IsDemographyStillDestiny© 2012 Brown University, Annenberg Institute for School Reform
Box 1985Providence, Rhode Island 02912
233 Broadway, Suite 720New York, New York 10279www.annenberginstitute.orgTwitter: @AnnenbergInstFacebook: www.facebook.com/AnnenbergInstituteForSchoolReform
Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University1
uring the past decade, theBloomberg administration hasexplicitly prioritized narrowing theracial achievement gap. FormerChancellor Joel Klein has oftenargued, “neither resources nordemography is destiny in the class-room,” and the New York City Department of Education hasinvested heavily in school choice toachieve this goal, remaking the highschool choice system to increase thescope and equity of student assign-ment to high school. Yet a new study by the Annenberg Institute forSchool Reform at Brown University indicates that the college readinessof New York City high school gradu-ates is still very highly correlated with the neighborhood they comefrom. In particular, the racial compo-sition and average income of a stu-dent’s home neighborhood are very strong predictors of a student’schance of graduating high schoolready for college. The gaps betweenneighborhoods are enormous:• Only 8 percent of students from Mott Haven graduate ready forcollege, while nearly 80 percent of students from Tribeca do.• In the city’s neighborhoods with100 percent Black and Latino res-idents, no more than 10 percent of high school students graduateready for college.• In the Manhattan neighborhoods with the highest college-readinessrates, fewer than 10 percent of theresidents are Black or Latino.• Eighteen of the twenty-oneneighborhoods with the lowest college-readiness rates are in theBronx (the other two are inBrooklyn).• Thirteen of the fifteen neighbor-hoods with the highest college-readiness rates are in Manhattan(the other two are in Queens).In spite of the city’s efforts toincrease equity by expanding highschool choice and creating five hun-dred new small schools and onehundred charter schools, collegereadiness rates are still largely pre-dicted by the demographics of a stu-dent’s home neighborhood. Thissuggests that the strategies of schoolchoice and school creation are not sufficient to create the equity that the administration has envisioned.
 Is Demography Still Destiny?
Other policies that would begin toaddress these gaps are:• Create a more equitable distribu-tion of in-school guidance andcounseling resources to help fami-lies successfully navigate theschool choice maze.• Significantly increase the numberof educational-option seats toensure that students of all aca-demic levels and all neighbor-hoods have a fair shot at seats inthe high schools that are most likely to prepare them for college.• Invest heavily in school improve-ment strategies, rather than just school creation and choice, toincrease the capacity of existingschools to prepare students forcollege. Without such comprehensive efforts,the vast disparity in opportunity that separates the city’s neighborhoods will persist.
Neighborhood Demographics andPublic High School Students’ Readinessfor College in New York City

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