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Report offers picture of Expanded Success Initiative’s first year

The city’s effort to put more resources into schools with a strong record of preparing black and Latino boys for college got off to a positive start, but faced a few funding roadblocks, according to a new report from the Research Alliance for New York City Schools.

The Expanded Success Initiative launched in 2012-13 in 40 high schools, each of which received $250,000 to ramp up academics, add college counseling and career preparation programs, and implement some combination of mentoring, tutoring, and leadership opportunities.

In its first months, some schools had trouble getting the funding they needed, leading to programming delays or funding gaps, principals said. But they also saw some initial successes getting more students into advanced classes and getting teachers to think about their students’ challenges, though researchers said it was too early to draw conclusions about the impact of those changes.

The report includes a wide range of insights from interviews with teachers and principals working through the program’s first year, like this from a teacher at an ESI school:

The problem of Black young men is a socioeconomic problem, which is deeper than the few dollars ESI has given us. I’m not dismissing ESI at the front end. I think it’s helpful. I think what has to happen is that they have to address the wider problem. The reason these boys are having a difficult time is because there is no employment or low employment in the communities. I believe [they are] constantly being harassed by the police. That people looking at them as a no good—won’t amount to nothing— has to change. There has to be more opportunities for these boys, and the communities.

The report is one part of an independent, four-year analysis conducted by the Research Alliance and funded by the Open Society Foundation, which is also funding ESI. You can read the whole report here:

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