6% success rate

Chicago’s public students aren’t likely to earn a college degree.

Of every 100 freshmen entering a Chicago public high school, only about six will earn a bachelor’s degree by the time they’re in their mid-20s, according to a first-of-its-kind study released Thursday by the Consortium on Chicago School Research.

The prospects are even worse for African-American and Latino male freshmen, who only have about a 3 percent chance of obtaining a bachelor’s degree by the time they’re 25.

Of graduates in ’98 and ’99 who went on to four-year colleges, “35 percent earned a bachelor’s degree within six years, compared with 64 percent nationally,” reports the Chicago Tribune. Not surprisingly, students with better high school grades did better in college, but only 63 percent of the “A” students with a 3.6 grade average or higher completed a college degree in six years.

Perhaps more will earn a degree on the “10-year plan,” but these are dismal results.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. I live in the Chicago area and get the Tribune delivered to my door every morning. This story was on the front page above the fold but shouldn’t have been any kind of surprise to any one who follows the performance of our schools here in Illinois.

    Northern Illinois University runs a web site that provides access to test scores for all Illinois schools and has a search engine that allows a user to parse the data. The story takes pains to point out that, “The prospects are even worse for African-American and Latino male freshmen, who only have about a 3 percent chance of obtaining a bachelor’s degree by the time they’re 25.”

    A quick look at the Chicago Public High School PSAE (Prairie State Achievement Exam given to all 11th Graders) test results for 2005 shows the following average results for Math, Science and Reading Scores(Test takers are divided into four categories; Exceeds, Meets, Below Standard and Academic Warning)

    Meets or Exceeds Standards White 62%, Black 22.7%, Hispanic 31.7%, Asian 65%.
    Below Standard or Academic Warning Whites 38.3%, Blacks 77.7%, Hispanic 69.3%, Asian 34.7%

    When you look at the disparity in the extremes, the results are even more discouraging:

    Exceeds Standards White 15.3%, Black 1.3%, Hispanic 2.3%, Asian 13.3%.
    Academic Warning White 7.3%, Black 23%, Hispanic 16.3%, Asian 5.7%.

    Data of this type has been available for at least the last four years and available to anyone who will take a moment to look at it. My question is why hasn’t the Chicago Tribune been more aggressive in publishing stats like this.

    Here’s some more bad news, if you do the same analysis on non-Chicago Cook county high schools as well as collar county high schools, the ones that are deemed to be far better off in terms of funding and other socioeconomic measurements, you will find almost the same pattern of results although not quite as extreme.

    Until this disparity is remedied, we will continue to have social unrest and racial tension stories will continue to share the headlines about poor performance in our schools.
    If you live in Illinois and want to do your own research you can visit the IIRC site.

  2. Is there anything in those statistics that identifies the cause of the disparity between blacks/hispanics? Because, one of the things that always stands out by it’s absence, whenever this issue comes up, is the identification of the cause. Oh sure, there’s sometimes some handwaving about “legacy of racism”, disagreement with which is denounced as evidence of racism but beyond that sort of politically expedient response, nothing.

    I don’t know about you, JoeH, but I’d like to know whether it’s the disease or a symptom that needs remedying before the remedying commences.

  3. Wayne Martin says:

    I sent a couple of these stories about low African-American graduation rates to my school teacher friend in upstate New York.

    Here is his reply:

    Sure, it’s one of the big frustrations. The problem extends well past those who can’t, to the many who wont. They (black males) are so attracted to the street culture that they simply wont try. They come in tired and don’t put in any effort to succeed. There is truly a street culture we are fighting.

    I teach 10th grade (mostly), that is when many students become 16 and can drop out. It’s certainly not just male blacks but they stand out. I’ve had many bright black males and very few who put in any effort.

    We don’t give up on them, they give up on themselves.

  4. Indigo Warrior says:

    Wayne Martin:
    They (black males) are so attracted to the street culture that they simply wont try. They come in tired and don’t put in any effort to succeed. There is truly a street culture we are fighting

    I agree with this, with the proviso that a good many lower-class white males also subscribe to the very same street culture. Nor is this a new thing. Nor is there much that “we” can do about it.

    With this street culture comes incredible defensiveness and denial. The evidence is everywhere that SC is unsustainable; and what more makes otherwise-productive people dependent on “Whitey” and “The Man” they despise so much. And if SC makes young men so tired, too tired to study and succeed, then the rational choice is to abandon SC. It’s no better than a drug habit that saps one’s vitality.

    A little reading of history will tell that there are some nations, such as the Jews, who have suffered terribly more and longer than Black America ever has. So how come the Jews or Asian Americans haven’t adopted the same street culture?

  5. I realize this wasn’t the intention of the title, but “6% success rate” implies that a “100% success rate” is desirable, though that’s obviously not realistic. I don’t think anyone has ever seriously argued that literally every single high school student should get a bachelor’s degree. So what *would* be a percentage that would be both desirable and realistic?

    I don’t know what that number should be myself, but I do think that far fewer students should be attending college than at present. College has become an expensive ritual for some who don’t even know why they’re there (“to get the magic piece of paper” is not a sufficient reason in my book). I think a lot of 18-year-olds would be better off doing something else than going through the motions of higher ed. They could always enroll later.

  6. Indigo Warrior says:

    Amritas:
    College has become an expensive ritual for some who don’t even know why they’re there (“to get the magic piece of paper” is not a sufficient reason in my book). I think a lot of 18-year-olds would be better off doing something else than going through the motions of higher ed. They could always enroll later.

    You are correct. There is so much ritualism embroiled in formal education, to the point where the ritual interferes with the education itself.

    I remember the time when high-school dropouts (not even college dropouts) had a good chance of a middle class career and lifestyle. That has changed, due to both increasing (real) complexity of the industrial world, and artificial overskilling.

    And I like the part of “they could always enroll later”. Educrats make plenty of provisions for “slower” students, but none for late-bloomers.