In America, educational achievement correlates with successful outcomes in employment, earning capacity, civic engagement, and levels of interactions with state and federal penal systems. Consequently, The Black Male Donor Collaborative aims to identify successful program interventions and policy levers to address the achievement disparities impacting the most extremely underperforming group in New York—Black males.
New York City educates the largest group of Black male students in the country. New York City’s available race and gender data paints an abysmal picture of Black male educational outcomes. There are approximately 172,000 Black male students in New York City schools, 16% of the total school enrollment. The Schott Foundation for Public Education has estimated that the New York City high school graduation rate for Black male students is 32%, compared to an estimate of 57% for White male students. Thousands more are not yet in high school, have already dropped out, have been pushed out, or have left high school without a diploma. This lack of clear accountability for counting children and youth in and of itself presents major challenges.
Further, Black males are underrepresented in the best educational settings in the city. An estimated 50% (87,000) of all of the Black male students are enrolled in only six of the 32 community school districts: Districts 5, 11, 17, 18, 22, 29. Twenty percent (35,000) of all of the Black male students are being educated in Region 6, which is in central Brooklyn. This inequity exists at all levels, in elementary, middle, and high schools. For example, at the elementary school level, in the 10 schools that performed best on the ELA test, only 3.8% of the student body was composed of Black males. In the 10 schools that performed the worst, however, 19.1% of the student body was composed of Black males.
There is a systemic trend of providing inequitable educational opportunities for Black males in New York City. The presence of new potential stakeholders in this work, such as financial services institutions, law firms, and businesses who have partnered through The Black Male Donor Collaborative, presents a unique opportunity for engagement and partnership to achieve outcomes on an unprecedented scale. In addition, the ability to identify program interventions that work to address the specific social and academic challenges confronting Black males at various stages of their academic development will tremendously advance the program and policy work in this area for years to come.
The Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies Education Working Group
The Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies initiative is a multi-disciplinary community engagement initiative which was spearheaded by Sullivan & Cromwell, LLP and Goldman Sachs to address the crisis facing Black males. The overall initiative is divided into five working groups: Education; Early Childhood Education; High Potential Youth; Employment and Economic Development; and Criminal Justice. Each sub-group is responsible for its own planning and fundraising efforts.
The Winning Strategies Education Working Group is comprised of attorneys, financial sector professionals, non-profit professionals, academics, educators, government agency representatives, and leaders in the philanthropy sector. The Team Leaders of the Education Working Group are: Roger Blissett, Managing Director, U.S. Strategy RBC Capital Markets; Nicole Campbell, Assistant Vice President, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation; Joe Scantlebury, Senior Policy Officer, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Elisa Hyman, Principal Consultant, Elisa Hyman Consulting, Inc.; and Dr. John H. Jackson, President and CEO, The Schott Foundation for Public Education.
William Schroeder and William Snipes from Sullivan and Cromwell are the founding members of the overall Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies initiative.
A Positive Future For Black Boys
The Schott Foundation for Public Education seeks to improve public education, especially for underserved children, through strategic philanthropy aimed at achieving educational resource, racial, and gender equity in public education. Schott promotes grant-making, convenings, strategic planning, and donor collaborations to develop and strengthen a broad representative movement towards high quality pre-kindergarten through 12 public education for all children. In 2001, Schott began A Positive Future for Black Boys Initiative with the goal of creating a movement to improve the public education experiences of Black boys. In New York, Schott played a major role in the success of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), resulting in several billion dollars more annually for New York City schools. In Massachusetts, Schott initiated and supports Early Education for All (EEA), which won broad support for the bill for a phased-in model of universal quality early childhood education. Schott also created The Schott Fellowship in Early Care and Education which prepares leaders from early education to become statewide policymakers. The Schott Foundation for Public Education has extensive experience working with funder collaboratives and the challenges confronting Black males and will administer and coordinate the Black Male Donor Collaborative.