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Leaders Exchange Ideas for Bridging Minority Achievement Gap

With grant funding from the GE Foundation, a philanthropic foundation of the General Electric Company, the Diversity Pipeline Alliance seized the unique opportunity to convene leaders of corporations, business schools, and nonprofit organizations to share their best practices for preparing underrepresented minority youth for academic and career success. The symposium participants also brainstormed ways to collaborate to meet the needs of these students at every critical juncture, from middle school through employment.

Middle School Math Matters

The name and focus of the symposium—“Minorities, Middle School, and Math: Addressing the Achievement Gap”—stem in large part from research that says exposure to algebra and geometry in middle school helps predict whether a student will go to college. Unfortunately, a large percentage of underrepresented U.S. minorities are not receiving a rigorous formative education, and this lack of preparation has far-reaching implications. Be it in graduation rates from high school and college or staying marketable in an information economy, the necessity for action is clear.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there were approximately 1.2 million black and Hispanic 18-year-olds in the United States. Only about 631,000 graduated from high school with a regular diploma (a 50% attrition rate). And, of the black and Hispanic students enrolled in a four-year college in 2000, only about 50% earned a degree or certificate.

Patching the Pipeline

To combat these disturbing trends, the Diversity Pipeline AllianceSM handpicked approximately 20 organizations on the basis of their commitment to serving underrepresented minority youth and the quality of their programming (especially as it relates to math instruction) to come together in one room and share their successes and challenges. Some of the ideas that the leaders exchanged for enhancing student learning included multitiered mentoring, hotlines for parents, role models, career-building internships, science fairs, conferences, hands-on competitions, and field trips.

The Diversity Pipeline AllianceSM is an umbrella organization for corporations, nonprofit organizations, and graduate schools of business that seek to build awareness of business education and career opportunities and offer support to students as they move from middle school to college and beyond. The Alliance is excited to facilitate budding networks, such as the one formed at the symposium, and to help ensure the success of the initiatives and reports this collaboration may generate.

For more information about the Diversity Pipeline AllianceSM, please visit www.diversitypipeline.org. To learn how you can contribute to the efforts of the Diversity Pipeline AllianceSM, contact Karen Johns, executive director, Diversity Pipeline AllianceSM, at info@diversitypipeline.org.

A list of the attendees of the symposium “Minorities, Middle School, and Math: Addressing the Achievement Gap” follows.

American Indian Science and Engineering Society
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Breakthrough Collaborative
Columbia University
Computer Clubhouse
Diversity Pipeline AllianceSM
Far West Laboratory/WestED
Florida A&M University
General Electric Foundation
Georgia Institute of Technology
Golden Key International Honour Society
Graduate Management Admission Council®
Hewitt Associates
Howard University
IBM Corporation
Jones Lang LaSalle
Junior Achievement, Inc.
National Academy of Sciences
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
University of California
UrbanLEARN
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Diversity Pipeline AllianceSM is a service mark of the Diversity Pipeline AllianceSM. All rights reserved.
Graduate Management Admission Council® is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®. All rights reserved.
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