Monday, May 28, 2012

Declining Black and Latino Populations at CUNY

The Community Service Society has issued a report demonstrating how City University of New York (CUNY) has experienced declining percentages of Black and Latino freshman after seeking higher SAT scores and reducing overall acceptances. But, before we speak about CUNY, we remember our fallen soldiers today, Memorial Day, which began in New York.

Fewer Black and Latino Freshman

From 2008 to 2010, Black and Latino enrollment at the most selective CUNY schools declined dramatically despite the short time frame.
By 2010, black students comprised 10 percent of entering freshmen at the top five CUNY colleges – Baruch, Hunter, Brooklyn, City, and Queens colleges – down from 17 percent in 2001 and 14 percent in 2008. Latino students made up 19 percent of entering freshmen at top schools in 2010, down from 22 percent in 2008.  These changes coincided with a significant increase in the number of black and Latino high school students taking the SAT.
• The slow decline in the share of black students at the senior colleges that began in 2001 accelerated significantly after 2008. Whereas black students had declined as a share of CUNY senior colleges since 2001, the broader growth in total enrollment had meant that they still increased in terms of numbers. But in the two years after 2008, blacks lost as much of a share in senior colleges as they did in the seven years prior, including steep drops in their numbers and share at the best schools. By 2010, just one in ten freshman entering top-tier senior colleges at CUNY was black.
• Latino students, who had made significant gains in admission to the top senior colleges since 2001, lost all of those gains in just two years. From 2001 to 2008, Latinos had increased their presence at all levels of CUNY schools. Yet in the two years after2008, they lost most of their gains at senior colleges, with dramatic declines in top-tier schools. From 2001 to 2008, the number of Latino freshman at top-tier schools increased by 40 percent. By 2010, that entire increase was erased.
• Black and Latino students made up 60 percent of new freshmen at CUNY in 2010. But they made up only 47 percent of senior college enrollment, and just 28 percent of enrollment at top-tier schools. These changes are occurring when the number of black and Latino students in New York City public high schools who are taking the SAT exam—the traditional signal of intent to attend a four-year college—is higher than ever.
Potential Solutions

The Community Service Society presents ideas from former CUNY administrator John Garvey that are geared toward improving the size of the pool of high scoring Black and Latino students.
• Better aligned standards and assessments, particularly reform of the Regents examinations to align them with college placement tests and what we know students need to be successful in college.
• Enhanced college advisement, to ensure that all students and their families have the best possible information about college readiness and the transition to college, from as early an age as possible.
• Higher quality teaching and learning within the New York City public high schools to promote better student achievement. This would include accelerated learning opportunities that incorporate college-level work within the high school experience.
• Development of a stronger college readiness system that includes data analysis and ongoing discussion among a wide range of stakeholders of how to improve college transitions.

The Community Service Society should be applauded for delivering a thoughtful report focused on solutions. As we exit a deep a frightening recession, we face lingering scares from trends that emerged in the recession. Seeing that college-bound students from Black and Latino backgrounds are increasingly absent from the freshman class at out city's most prestigious public colleges creates a fear of long term impacts from the calamity of 2008. The Community Service Society alerts us to the problem and gives us hope for improvement by recommending steps we can take to reverse these terrible trends.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Obama and NAACP Follow NY's Lead

Last week, the NAACP's 64-person Board voted in favor of marriage equality with only two Board members opposed. The previous week featured President Obama proclaiming his support for marriage equality. New York State has been a leader in the movement toward marriage equality, and the support of the NAACP and President Obama is welcomed.

New York State Leads on Marriage Equality

In June 2011, New York State changed its laws to specifically support marriage equality and allow same-sex couples to have all of the protections provided by marriage.

As we stated at that time:

We congratulate Governor Cuomo on leading a disciplined and street smart battle for marriage equality. We congratulate the New York Civil Liberties Union and all of the parts of the successful coalition.

We have noticed that our city's Archbishop was disheartened by the success of the marriage equality coalition, and we re-emphasize that there is no excuse for our city's religious leaders to promote discrimination. The religious community opposed equal rights for non-white residents of our country, opposed women's suffrage, and continues to view its support for discrimination against homosexuals as an important part of its identity.

Until the religious leadership in our city moves away from its focus on finding ways to support and promote discrimination, that leadership will continue to lose these defining battles of our time. If those leaders will begin to oppose discrimination, they will be embraced, and they will improve lives here on earth.

NAACP and President Obama Offer Support

Earlier this month, President Obama endorsed marriage equality, thereby solidifying his place in history as a great President who promoted the progress of freedom and equality. Last week, the NAACP followed the lead of President Obama, who had followed the lead of New York State. Now, the consensus is building for marriage equality. Though 29 states have passed laws banning marriage equality (with four more considering bans in November), the trend is clearly now moving toward equality.

Marriage equality will eventually be the law in every state. For now, New York is one of the states leading the way and welcoming supporters, such as the NAACP and the President of the United States.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Speaker Quinn's Bloomberg Moment

Speaker Quinn's enthusiastic endorsement of stop-and-frisk disqualifies her in the Mayor's race. She has worked so hard to be loved by Mayor Bloomberg that she is endorsing his disgusting and shockingly racist approach to law enforcement.

Supporting Our City's Enemies

Last week, Speaker Quinn stated that she'd keep Ray Kelly as NYC's police commissioner if she became Mayor. For that reason alone, we must make ensuring that she never becomes Mayor a top priority.

Speaker Quinn is fully supportive of the same leaders who have brought the scourge of stop-and-frisk to our city, and our self-respect as NYC residents should make us determined to end that scourge as soon as possible.

Ray Kelly, with the full support of Mayor Bloomberg, has led a 700% increase in stopping and frisking innocent young men of color. If this activity occurred in another country, we'd consider it a human rights abuse. In 2011, Ray Kelly led the stopping of more young Black men than actually live in our city. That reality is worthy of restating: In one year, Ray Kelly stopped more innocent young Black men in our city than the number of young Black men who live in our city. The 700% increase in stop-and-frisk has not reduced crime, has not made us safer, has not resulted in a meaningful number of arrests, and has not recovered a meaningful amount of illegal weapons. The 700% increase in stop-and-frisk has resulted in de-humanizing young men of color in the eyes of law enforcement. The 700% increase in stop-and-frisk has undermined the relationship between communities of color and law enforcement. The 700% increase has caused law enforcement to focus on innocent young men of color while allowing real criminals to go unchallenged, uninvestigated, unarrested, and unconcerned as the pursue criminal activity. The NYPD has been telling crime victims to ignore the crimes they've endured so that officers have time to stop innocent young men of color. Ray Kelly is the architect and the personification of the unsafe, indefensible, racist, and counterproductive criminalization of being young, male, and non-white in our city. Speaker Quinn should be ashamed of herself for endorsing a discredited and morally bankrupt approach to policing our city. If Speaker Quinn is determined to side with the enemies of our city, she cannot be permitted to continue to lead us.

Mayoral Race 2013

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has been the loudest and strongest voice amongst likely Mayoral candidates in opposing stop and frisk. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio recently demanded an audit of stop and frisk. Only Speaker Quinn has endorsed stop and frisk. She stated: "[Stop-and-frisk] helped drive down crime rates."

Speaker Quinn's values are not acceptable in a NYC Mayor. We must oppose racism, white supremacy, and the dehumanization of young men of color. We must oppose Speaker Quinn.

Monday, May 7, 2012

NYC Budget Cuts Damage Our Children

Our guest writer this week is Richard Buery, Jr., President and CEO of The Children's Aid Society.

On Thursday, Mayor Bloomberg announced his $68.7 billion budget proposal, and for the fifth straight year, his budget slashes early childhood and after school programs.   

Nonsensical Cuts
With Wall Street tax revenues lower than predicted and our city still recovering from the economic downtown, I understand that the city has difficult choices to make.  But decimating these critical programs for children is just the wrong choice to make.

From his Young Men's Initiative to improve outcomes for young people of color, to his plans to serve juveniles in supportive programs here in New York City rather than upstate juvenile jails, to the groundbreaking poverty-fighting initiatives of his Center for Economic Opportunity, the Mayor has demonstrated his sincere commitment to the poor and working-class children of New York City.   And while I haven't agreed with every element of his education reform policies, he has bravely asked to be judged as the "education mayor."   Our expectations of what a public education system can and should be expected to deliver for poor children have been changed forever.

That is why the mayor's proposed cuts to early childhood education and after-school programs make absolutely no sense.  We all understand how important it is to keep kids engaged and on track beginning at a very early age.  Every $1 spent on high-quality early childhood programs for a disadvantaged child creates up to$9 in future benefits -- in new taxes collected and more productive workers, and fewer dollars spent on publicly subsidized health care, prisons and the like.  A great early childhood program prepares students for school - any kindergarten teacher can tell you about the importance of these resources.

Quality after-school and summer programs are similarly critical for children's development.  A study by Fight Crime:Invest in Kids New York found that the majority of juvenile crime occurs between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.  Children who are consistently involved in stimulating, educational activities grow up to be smart, safe and productive members of society. They are more likely to go to college, get jobs, support their families and less likely to end up on the streets, involved in gangs or in prison. After-school programs not only help children succeed in school, but they also keep them off of the streets.

Once upon a time, the Mayor understood this.  He has said, "Teaching doesn't stop when the last school bell rings." He created the city's Out-of-School Time initiative, a nationally recognized effort to bring high-quality after-school and summer programs to kids, declaring that what happens after school is as important as what happens during the school day.

Impact of the Cuts

The combined effects of the mayor's proposed budget and structural changes to both the early childhood and after-school systems will eliminate programs for an additional 47,000 children. This is the latest in a series of reductions. Come September, a total of 90,000 kids will have lost their early childhood or after-school programs since 2009 -- a 2/3 reduction. Every city agency has faced cuts, but I am not aware of any other program that has been forced to absorb cuts at that scale.  The city recently announced the winners of the newest round of Out-of-School Time contracts, and nearly half of programs city wide will be closing their doors.

In Central Harlem, only 5.7% of eligible families will have access to early childhood education.

And the impact goes beyond education and safety -- it's an economic tragedy as well.  For the working parents we serve, these programs are a life line to the workforce.  Consider Lilibet.  For her, raising two sons alone, working full-time and living paycheck to paycheck, The Children's Aid Society's after school programs mean the difference between going to work and supporting her family or staying home and relying on public benefits. How could it possibly benefit us as a city to drive her, and thousands like her, from the workforce?

As the New York Times said in a recent editorial, "Mr. Bloomberg and the Council need to do a lot more for the citys neediest children." We cannot balance our budgets on the backs of these, our neediest New Yorkers.

The cuts will be particularly devastating to low-income children and their families. One in three children in New York, and two in three public school children, live in poverty.  These have been difficult years for those New Yorkers at the bottom of the economic ladder.  We have already cut their services to the bone, and our waiting lists are the longest they have ever been.  Further reductions will devastate the very children who the mayor has championed in both his philanthropy and public service.

When he was asked about these cuts, the Mayor responded "We can't do everything we want in the size and frequency that you would like, but the objective is to try to balance and make choices and we will try to do that and do it responsibly like we've been doing for 10 years." 

He is absolutely right.  A budget is, at the end of the day, a series of choices.  It tells you what is critical and what is expendable.  It tells you who matters and who does not.

The Mayor's budget says that needy children and working families don't matter.  Several of my colleagues in the fields of early childhood and afterschool have launched the Campaign for Children to remind him otherwise.  I urge you to join us -- our children need all the support they can get.  

200th Blog - Thank You

This is the 200th blog of Manhattan Viewpoint. Thank you for reading.

What is Manhattan Viewpoint?

Manhattan Viewpoint is focused on local issues, local activities, and local perspectives. Some national or international issues have a major impact locally and should be addressed with respect to that local impact. Many local issues are overlooked as we focus more broadly. Manhattan Viewpoint is here to help us see what is happening to us in our neighborhood.

Most Read Blog

The most read blog entry of the first 200 was a blog reflecting the local connection to a national issue. On May 30, 2011, Manhattan Viewpoint addressed the decline numbers of Board members of color at our nation's largest companies.
Though people of color represent 34% of the US population, people of color are only 10% of the population of Boards of Directors of Fortune 500 companies.Perhaps more troubling is the trend. The Boards of the largest 100 US companies lost nearly half of their Black male Board members between 2004 and 2010, going from 93 Board seats in 2004 to 51 Board seats in 2010. The combined male and female numbers for Black Board members dropped from 120 in 2004 to 77 in 2010. In 2010, Black Board members represented less than five percent of all Board seats.
In that same blog, Manhattan Viewpoint addressed the differing views of racial discrimination coming from different racial groups.
Perhaps a sign of the challenges our country faces in curing its race-oriented realities is a new study that shows that white US residents believe that the primary victims of racism are white Americans and that racism against white Americans in the US today is more severe than racism against Black Americans. While these findings are shocking, they may help explain why Boards of Directors of US companies are aggressively reducing their Black populations in recent years.
Prescient Blog

As Caroline Kennedy sought to be appointed to the US Senate by Governor David Paterson, we wrote that Paterson would be smarter to pick a young Congress member named Kirsten Gillibrand.

Senator Gillibrand has made us very proud. We told you so.

Mayor Bloomberg

Manhattan Viewpoint has consistently been critical of the Mayor's support for the racist stop-and-frisk policing of the NYPD, the Mayor's refusal to support racial integration of the NYC Fire Department, and the Mayor's exclusion of people of color from leading positions in his administration. The criticism has extended to his handling of education in our city, where only 28% of Black male students graduate high school.

We have not been unwilling to praise the Mayor when he deserved praise. He has improved the health of our residents with aggressive anti-smoking rules, improved information regarding calorie content provided by restaurant chains, led the opposition the proliferation of guns, and other undertaken other praise-worthy initiatives. Mayor Bloomberg was outspoken in support of the building of an Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan, even as polls showed that NYC residents opposed such a center. We praised him for being right about that center.

In the end, the Mayor's unwavering defense of intensely racist policies is not outweighed by the good that he's done. He has not been held accountable by voters for his support of those policies, but, Manhattan Viewpoint will continue to attempt to illuminate how unacceptable the Mayor's approach is.

What Next?

We hope that Manhattan Viewpoint does not end at 200 blog entries. The goal is to continue this effort to illuminate, educate, inspire, and mobilize.