What can we do to improve graduation rates for black and Latino boys?

We’re talking today about a new report on the graduation rates for black and Latino males. Here are the numbers:

Only 52 percent of Black male and 58 percent of Latino male ninth-graders graduate from high school four years later, while 78 percent of White, non-Latino male ninth-graders graduate four years later.

What does the Schott Foundation, the group that released the report, think should be done to improve black and Latino graduation rates?

End the rampant use of out-of-school suspensions as a default disciplinary action, as it decreases valuable learning time for the most vulnerable students and increases dropouts.

Expand learning time and increase opportunities for a well-rounded education including the arts, music, physical education, robotics, foreign language, and apprenticeships.

States and cities should conduct a redlining analysis of school funding, both between and within districts, and work with the community and educators to develop a support-based reform plan with equitable resource distribution to implement sound community school models.

What should we do in Minnesota?

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host

  • mark nupen

    Very good program and should be repeated yearly. this is too important to not update.

    My question: In the 60’s some in the ‘Black Power’ movement advocated not going to school to prevent the white establishment from using the educated blacks as ‘new slaves’. I suspect some of this thinking still exists within the black community and I do not see black leadership uniformly advocating to parents to do more to keep their kids in school. Too often schools are derided by the black community and presented as places of racism instead of opportunity.

    what does some of your speakers have to say about this past history.


  • Sandy

    THANK YOU to the last caller who FINALLY brought up parental involvement!!! It is so important. I can’t believe the discussion has not touched on this until 35 minutes in.

  • Tim

    Pressure of standardized testing squeezes out recess and quality activities, making school soul crushing and pressure is highest in minority schools.

  • It was interesting to note Keri’s comment that tax payers have to agree that putting more resources into school is worth while when commenting about resoiurces being allocated to building more prisons.

    No one votes on building prisons – school taxes are the only taxes citizens get to vote on. We don’t choose at the polls to raise exise taxes, postage or expand roads or remodel the governor’s mansion. But to expand or build a school must go before the tax payer.

    Interesting, no?

  • Al

    Problems start with parents. Education is key to progress in the life. They should learn certain life styles are unacceptable if they want to succeed.

  • Paul Stearns

    Great show. I’d like to hear your guests comment on the idea that there is room for more volunteer tutors in our schools. I am trying it for the first time this year and so far it is going really well. I am paired with an English Languange Learner (ELL) for two hours a day; I go to her American History class and then review the material with her over the next hour. I would think there would be other retired or semi-retired people like myself who would have the time to do the same. Thanks again for the show.

  • Shawn

    Let’s start doing in-schools suspensions where they have to learn.

  • John Hoffman

    Frontline had a similar program which featured a young Hispanic man who is very smart and had done well in school until his father was taken out of his family from a forced deportation. When this happened he became very depressed and his school progress plummeted. He dropped out of school to help support his family.

    My comment: This is not all that different from any child, black, brown, red, yellow, white. If the family structure falls apart, it is overwhelming to a child. It is out of the child’s control. A school with strong supportive male role models can be the one part of their life that is stable and supportive.

    My question: is there a study correlating family stability to student success?

  • Cliff

    The guests on today’s show were saying things like “students of color have different learning styles” and “students of color learn by doing”. These statements are very wrong on many levels. The education community has taken the idea proposed by Howard Gardner, that people have different types of intelligence and run with it.

    The education community has blindly accepted the idea that people have different learning styles. This idea is not supported by psychological research. Psychological research has not shown that there is any measurable difference among people of varied backgrounds or ethnic communities in the way that they learn. Howard Gardner’s ideas have not been supported by research in psychology either.

    The statement “people of color have different learning styles than others” is then a simply racist viewpoint.

    The statement “people of color learn better by doing” is simply misleading because it implies that other students don’t learn better this way. All students learn better by doing. Unfortunately, teaching in an inquiry based classroom takes more time than a traditionally taught classroom.

  • This “discussion” was skewed because of the people involved in the conversation. The Minneapolis Public Schools has “left behind” Black and Hispanic school children in favor of total misdirection of assets to reach parents and concerned community members. I don’t’ understand if MPR is doing this as part of public relations for the MPS or if they really KARE?

  • The Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP) agrees with the Schott Foundation: the rampant use of out-of-school suspensions as the default disciplinary action for students of color is indeed a tragic feature of Minnesota’s schools, and leads to unacceptable dropout rates.

    MMEP’s African American Males in Education Advisory (AAMEA) group has held public forums on this issue and is shaping an advocacy campaign to work with districts and communities to implement alternative practices.

    The bottom line for us is this: the racially disproportionate use of suspensions signals a fundamental flaw in the goals, pedagogy, culture, and spirit of our system of education. But knowing this means we have an opportunity to engage in aligning our schools with what works best for our diverse community of students. For the well-being of our state’s social and economic prosperity, dependent as we are on these students, we simply cannot continue this practice.

    Discover more about our work at http://www.mmep.org. Engage with the AAMEA here on Facebook.

  • Robert Jersak

    First, I second the important work of MMEP — we’re fortunate to have such an organization as an advocate for our learners .. and our state’s future. Second, I share the concern over essentializing an African-American “learning style.” We ought to move away from the strict dichotomy of “academic” vs. “technical” learners, and focus more on the skills we want all students to acquire for their roles as citizens, employees, employers, caregivers and potential leaders. We ought to make the steps needed to master those skills more transparent to learners, and we ought to encourage students to seek a sense of purpose. Though cultural differences exist and are important to acknowledge, humans share an important thread when it comes to the source of their motivations.

  • Eric Paulson

    Really! Not suspending students of color is the best we can do? Most every high school has “college ready” as one of their goals. In college you are reading, writing, solving problems, and taking copious notes. If students are to succeed in college, then these skills need to be taught and reinforced.

  • Gregg Martinson

    Part of the solution is to make our schools a place that students want to be in. To me that points to programs like restorative justice, which creates relationships in the discipline system. Discipline without a restorative approach just pushes kids out the door. More importantly schools that have, high quality engaging instructors that are culturally competent and build strong relationships is critical. Also school programming that eliminates the barriers for students and families to get involved is essential. I work in a school that has spent a lot of energy trying to do this, and its making a difference.