Uneven Ground: Examining Systemic Inequities that Block College Preparation for African American Boys

by Rhonda Bryant

Oct 11, 2013

The nation's education system currently does an uneven job of preparing students for college and careers. High-poverty and high-minority high schools in particular lack the rigorous education and support elements necessary to prepare their students. This report examines the inequities faced by African-American male students and makes policy recommendations that address these inequities.
  • College readiness encompasses: 1) cognitive strategies (e.g., intellectual openness, analytic skills); 2) content knowledge in core subject areas; 3) academic behaviors (e.g., study skills, ownership of one's own learning); and 4) contextual skills and awareness (i.e., understanding how college operates as a system and as a culture).
  • Data show that schools with high percentages of students of color are less likely to offer higher-level college preparatory courses than schools with low percentages of students of color.
  • Novice teachers are more likely to be placed in schools with large minority student populations, which can result in lower quality learning environments and experiences.
  • High school students of color have fewer opportunities for support from school counselors, who are pivotal in the college preparation process.
  • Policy recommendations include creating accountability in high schools for graduation rates and college and career readiness; prioritizing the appropriate number of school counselors, particularly in schools with the largest numbers of students with significant needs; and expanding community involvement and support.