In an effort to improve the academic success of minority male students in the nation’s capital, D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced a plan to invest $20 million in new programs that support black and Latino male students.
According to The Washington Post, Henderson says her latest initiative to invest in the lives of young minority men has everything to do with “mathematics.” Currently, black and Latino boys make up 43 percent of students in D.C. public schools, yet they lag behind in reading, math, attendance and graduation rates. By the fourth grade, nearly half of the city’s black and Latino male students are reading below grade level, and just 48 percent of black male students and 57 percent of Hispanic male students graduate high school in four years.
“Far too many students are not benefiting from the progress we are making,” said Henderson at a news conference. “It’s a very real, very urgent problem.”
Henderson’s push is a part of a citywide effort under D.C. Mayor Murial E. Bowser to increase the opportunities made available to young men of color. The efforts also reflect President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, which also works to ensure that black and Latino young men are provided the proper resources and opportunities to excel in society.
Under the “Empowering Males of Color” initiative, the nation’s capital plans to open an all-boys college preparatory high school in 2017. To help with the school’s success, Henderson has enlisted Tim King, founder of the high-performing Chicago all-boys school, Urban Prep Academies, who for five years straight has had a 100 percent graduation rate.
In addition to opening a new college prep high school, D.C. also plans to recruit more minority teachers and has put out a request to recruit 500 new volunteers by the end of this school year to serve as tutors and mentors to individual students.