• Closing Achievement Gaps Between Student Groups

    The Social and Education Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools

    Call for Change In October 2011, the Council of the Great City Schools released A Call for Change, which attempted to summarize our findings and the analyses of others on the social and educational factors shaping the outcomes of Black males in urban schools. A Call for Change documented the many challenges facing our Black male youth, and the Council’s Board of Directors has agreed to move forward aggressively on solutions.

    The Council is collaborating with the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Innovation Fund to help with the “Generating Solutions” stage of this broader initiative to improve the academic attainment and life conditions of our Black male students.

    The Council proposes a number of initiatives to identify proven solutions, explore possible new and viable solutions, and disseminate these ideas and strategies to urban schools and the nation at large. Ongoing and proposed initiatives include—

    ·        Internal Advisory Group. An internal advisory group consisting of urban school superintendents, school board members, and senior staff has been created to inform and guide the Council’s overall work plan and research strategies.

    ·        External Advisory Group. An external advisory group of academic researchers, national community leaders, faith-based leaders, youth advocates, and others who are working on these issues and who could advise the project and lead local and national efforts has been identified.  

    ·        Commissioned Papers. The project will commission papers from leading scholars and thinkers on new ways to conceptualize the issues and to highlight solutions that are producing results that might be effective but remain untried. All solutions will be product/program agnostic with a focus on strategies. The papers would be reviewed by educational and, when appropriate, social practitioners. Both the internal and external advisory groups will review the Commissioned Papers. The compilation of this work would form a major outcome of the project and would be broadly circulated.  

    ·        Student Surveys.  Council staff will develop a draft of a student survey to obtain the perspective of young people on how they see the issues as well as their views on strategies they see as most helpful in improving their education.Staff will encourage districts to administer the survey to middle and/or high school students.This survey was piloted in June in the Richmond Public Schools. 

    ·        Member Surveys.  Council staff will conduct a survey with its member districts   to determine the activities they are pursuing to improve the achievement of Black males and to identify evidence of effectiveness. 

    ·        National Leadership Conference. In collaboration with HMH, CGCS will hold a national leadership conference which will summarize results of what is currently happening in urban districts, the commissioned papers, and the “best” solutions generated by the public. 

    ·        Public Service Announcements (PSAs). A series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that promote solutions, present a call for action, and speak to students directly will be created.  The PSAs will be produced by HMH’s Communications Department in collaboration with the Council’s Communications Department. The PSAs will focus on solutions identified by the Commissioned Papers. 

    ·        Technical Assistance. The Council will work with districts leaders and others as they take solutions to scale.


    Today's Promise, Tomorrow's Future: Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Hispanics in Urban Schools

    This study is the companion study to A Call for Change.Still, the work is limited in that it examines only six areas in the lives of America’s Hispanic youth:  It attempts to pull together achievement data specifically focusing on Hispanic students in our urban schools. This document will provide a reference point and baseline data to ignite and guide our future work. 


    ·        Readiness to learn

    ·        Hispanic and ELL Hispanic student achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

    ·        Hispanic and ELL Hispanic student achievement on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in selected big-city school districts  

    ·        College and career preparedness

    ·        School experience

    ·        Postsecondary experience


    The Council’s Bilingual Education Task Force will examine the report’s findings at its meeting in October 2011 and make recommendations for future direction.  Additionally, the Council will move to convene a panel of esteemed school district, state, national, and university leaders and policy makers who are concerned about the education of Hispanic children and youth. This panel of leaders would provide guidance to the Council in its continued work to address the challenges in improving achievement for Hispanic children in our urban schools and help develop targeted strategies to accelerate their learning.