How black, Latino males succeed

Black and Latino males who are doing well in high school credit their parents’ high expectations, relationships with caring teachers, a respectful, college-going culture in their high schools and a desire to get out of poverty.

Succeeding in the City, a study by Penn Education Professor Shaun Harper, is based on interviews with New York City juniors and seniors with a B average or higher in college-prep classes. All were engaged in school activities and planning to enroll in college.

Two-thirds of the students’ mothers and three-quarters of their fathers lacked any college degree. However 45 percent lived with two parents, which is above average for low-income urban neighborhoods.

“Staying on track can mean staying indoors,” writes Emily Richmond in The Atlantic.

When asked how they avoided being drawn into gang activity in their neighborhoods, many of the students said their parents prohibited all outdoor activity after dark. Some students said that having a reputation as a serious scholar headed for college actually protected them from gang conscription. Many of the respondents also stayed on campus long after classes ended for the day in order to do their studying and hang out with friends, often as a means of avoiding the disruptive neighborhood environment.

Harper also tracked 90 young male black and Latino college students from the same high schools. “Students said they had difficulty with time management–in high school, teachers were careful not to overload students with competing assignments due on the same day, and a student who asked for an extension would likely get one.”

All the high school students could name a teacher who’d helped them succeed. None of the college students could name a supportive professor.

When the team wins, male GPAs lose

When the University of Oregon football team wins, male students’ grades decline, conclude economists who tracked the Ducks’ last nine seasons.

“Our estimates suggest male grades fall significantly with the success of the football team,” the research team, led by Jason Lindo, writes in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. Furthermore, the economists find this effect is “larger among students from relatively disadvantaged backgrounds, and those of relatively low ability.”

Lindo and his colleagues . . . compared grade point averages to the winning percentage of the school’s football team, which ranged over the years from 45 to 92 percent.

“We find that the team’s success significantly reduces male grades relative to female grades,” they write. “This phenomenon is only present in fall quarters, which coincide with the football season.”

Why? Young men drink more and study less to celebrate football victories. Their female classmates also party, but not as hard, surveys indicate.

What’s true for the University of Oregon probably is true for other state universities, the researchers believe.

Oregon is playing in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2.

Affirmative action for males

With women earning 58 percent of bachelor’s degrees, some private liberal arts colleges are practicing affirmative action for male applicants to preserve a gender balance in enrollment. Private colleges have the legal right to discriminate against women, but don’t like to publicize it.  Now the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is investigating whether the practice is widespread. From Inside Higher Education:

. . . the Civil Rights Commission’s inquiry is based on concerns about another part of Title IX — its requirement that colleges provide equitable athletic opportunities to male and female athletes. A theory behind the inquiry, outlined in the proposal used to launch the probe, is that colleges may be favoring men in admissions because they are worried about gender-neutral changes they might otherwise use to attract more male students. Foremost among such strategies would be adding more male athletic teams, a move some colleges may be reluctant to make out of fear of the expense of then being required to add more women’s teams.

Look at the underlying issue, Richard Whitmire at Why Boys Fail. Too many boys do so poorly in school that they’re not prepared for college or not motivated to try it. Why?

Update: Dr. Helen has more, plus a plug for Whitmire’s upcoming book, Why Boys Fail.