Examining the Pre-High School Roots of the Black and Latino Male Dropout Crisis in New York City

by Ben Meade; Frank Gaytan

Aug 1, 2009

This report examines how the achievement levels of Black and Latino males vary across New York City neighborhoods and work to identify the neighborhoods where the needs of the two populations are most critical. Differences in characteristics of the middle schools and students in the low- and high-performing Community School Districts (CSDs) are examined to better understand the continually low performance of a large portion of Black and Latino males in New York City.

  • Five CSDs stand out among the lowest performing. They include neighborhoods in and around East Harlem, East Bronx, South Bronx, Brownville and East New York, and Long Island City.
  • In four of the five above CSDs, fewer than 22 percent of the Black and Latino male students graduated with a Regents Diploma in four years.
  • In three of the five CSDs, about one-third of Black and Latino male students completed fewer than five credits in their first year of high school.
  • Low-performing CSDs tend to have a higher precentage of teachers who have less than five years of teaching experience, and a lower percentage of teachers with a master's degree.
  • Student need levels are higher in low-performing CSD middle school as indicated by higher proportions of students qualifying for free lunch and designated as English Language Learners and receiving special education services.