Hear My Voice: Strengthening the College Pipeline for Young Men of Color in California

by Leni Wolf; Anthony Chavez; Theresa Chen; Erika Oseguera; Natalie Wheatfall

Jun 1, 2017

This brief reviews current data and literature to understand how young men of color are faring around postsecondary preparation and success in California. We share stories from a sample of institutions— including our conversations with young men of color—to understand what practices can help young men of color succeed, and we provide recommendations for California practitioners and policymakers to ensure our P-12 and higher education systems are set up for young men of color to thrive on the path to and through college. We urge practitioners and policymakers to ensure young men of color have the supports all students need to be successful in college in addition to differentiated supports that can help young men of color overcome the additional hurdles they often confront above and beyond what most other students face.

Hear My Voice: Strengthening the College Pipeline for Young Men of Color in California
  • Each year, close to 40,000 young men of color don’t graduate with their high school class.
  • Boys and young men of color are more likely than their peers to attend schools lacking basic resources like science labs, extracurricular programs, counselors, and health services. They are also less likely to be enrolled in college preparatory courses, even when they attend schools that offer them. They are more likely to be suspended and expelled, and Black males in are more harshly punished for the same behavior as White students.
  • Only 76 percent of Latino boys and 67 percent of Black boys graduate from high school. Only 33 percent of Latino men ages 25 and older have attended any college, and just 10 percent have a bachelor’s degree. Among Native American men of the same age, just slightly more have attended college—45 percent—and only 13 percent have a bachelor’s degree.
  • Best practices for supporting all students P-12: Having leaders dedicated to transformational change, fostering a welcoming environment and maintaining high expectations, enrolling all students in rigorous course work, providing broad academic and socio-emotional supports, supporting the college transition, building relationships with families to support students, analyzing data to identify and address needs, training staff on issues of bias and diversity, developing relationships with community partners and institutions.
  • Best practices for supporting all students postsecondary: Having leaders dedicated to transformational change, fostering a welcoming environment, building relationships with families to support student success, supporting the transition to and through college, providing broad academic and socio-emotional supports, streamlining and expediting the academic experience at community colleges, analyzing data to identify and address needs, diversifying faculty and training faculty/staff around bias, developing relationships with community partners and institutions.
  • Support and services specifically for young men of color, recommended for school consideration: support intentional social support networks, ensure teachers and faculty reflect the ethnic and cultural background of students, support culturally responsive teaching and culturally relevant pedagogy, connect boys and young men of color with mentorships opportunities, engage in pro-active advising, provide additional support in transition to a through college.
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