Original URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/20/education/20MINO.html?ex=1038804835&ei=1&en=7bf59001c7c44d3e
Minorities' Views on Success in School Are Cited
The New York Times, Nov. 19, 2002
Black and Hispanic students in high-achieving suburban schools have as much desire to succeed as their white and Asian peers, a study released today concludes.
Researchers for the Minority Student Achievement Network study said the findings, based on a survey of 40,000 high school students in 15 relatively affluent school districts across the country, showed that black and Hispanic students are actually more likely than white or Asian students to report that their friends think it is very important to study hard and get good grades.
But nearly half of the black and Hispanic students said they understood teachers' lessons only about half the time or less, compared with 27 percent of white students and 32 percent of Asian students.
"How well students understand what they're being taught or what they're asked to read for school depends a great deal on how they are being taught and what kinds of supports are in place to encourage learning," said Allan Alson, superintendent of Evanston Township High School District 202 in Illinois and founder of the network.
The survey, the first done by the network, was conducted in the fall and winter of the 2000-01 school year. It also covered issues like teacher-student relationships, students' understanding of classroom material, homework and peer pressure.
The network's districts, located in such communities as Montclair, N.J., Madison, Wis., and Cambridge, Mass., have reputations as high-achieving, high-support districts, but still report a common problem of having generally lower achievement results among black and Hispanic students. They formed their network four years ago to work to ensure high academic achievement for black and Hispanic students.
The study found that black and Hispanic students often had fewer resources at home to help them succeed in school.
For instance, 57 percent of white students and 42 percent of Asian students said they had more than one computer at home, compared with 20 percent of Hispanics and 27 percent of blacks.
The study also found that on average black and Hispanic students in the districts were more likely to live with one or neither parent and that their parents were less likely to have college degrees than the parents of white students.