$3.5 Million Granted to 100 High Schools in NYC to Boost College Readiness

By Chika Dunu, Epoch Times
June 17, 2016 Updated: June 17, 2016

Most students graduating from New York City public schools are not college ready, according to an initiative by the schools chancellor and mayor.

“College ready” typically means a student has the necessary skills—reading, writing, math, social, and cognitive—to qualify for and succeed in entry-level college courses without needing remedial work.

“Today, fewer than half of our high school students graduate ready for college. Additionally, the postsecondary enrollment rate is 53, with many schools far below that,” the Equity and Excellence initiative states. The initiative hopes to, by 2026, have 80 percent of students graduate high school on time and two-thirds to be college ready.

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on June 17 a $3.5 million boost to 100 high schools to try and turn the tide. 

The 100 schools include 31 schools in the Bronx, 33 in Brooklyn, 20 in Manhattan, 15 in Queens, and one on Staten Island. 

“As the first person in my family go to college, I understand the importance of creating a schoolwide college-going culture and giving students individualized support to get to college,” said Farina in a statement.

“We’re engaging families and students around the idea of what comes next and giving them unprecedented support,” Farina said. Participating schools will collaborate with college planning coaches, counselors, and staff to ensure a college culture throughout NYC schools. 

Former public school educator Florina Rodov said the most difficult challenge is with high schoolers who don’t see college as an option. “Getting them to understand that they could afford college, that there were resources out there to help them pay for it.”

She said, “Getting past cultural, familial obstacles. When no one in their family went to college, it was challenging to make them understand its importance.”

Rodov taught 9th and 10th grade English and creative writing and journalism to grades 9 through 12 at George Washington Educational Campus in Washington Heights from 2005–2009. She currently runs an education nonprofit, Authentic Manhattan Foundation.

“There’s nothing more important than making college and careers available to every student, regardless of what neighborhood they live in or their background,” said Bill de Blasio in a press release. “With College Access for All–High School, 100 schools are going to have the resources to make college and careers part of the vocabulary and expectations for all students, and give students the support to make it a reality.” 

Schools will also receive support in using data tools—including the FAFSA data portal and the Progress to Graduation Tracker—to monitor students’ college application, financial aid, and college exploration activities.

A list of the 100 schools can be found here.