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Report: Cincinnati Schools Are Not Adequately Preparing Black Students For College

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A new report says the Cincinnati community needs to help increase Black college graduation rates.

A University of Cincinnati professor of higher education wondered how prepared Cincinnati Black students are for college; he says the findings of his research are troubling.

In 2015, at the majority of Cincinnati Public High Schools, not one Black student passed an AP exam. That's not OK, says Antar Tichavakunda, who wrote a report on the State of Black Students and Higher Education using the most recent numbers with racially disaggregated data.

Ninety-one percent of the Black students who passed an AP exam went to Walnut Hills (122 students). Four passed exams at Clark Montessori and eight at Dater. That leaves nine high schools where zero passed.

"I'm not blaming Black students or the Black community — I'm not saying y'all need to work harder," Tichavakunda said. "I'm saying we, as a community — professors, educators, politicians, whoever — we need to make sure that Black students are getting the support from K-12 on and also in higher education."

He says the graduation rate among local high schools also needs to be improved, with 10 of the 14 public high schools having a "C" or below for the four-year graduation rate, according to the 2018-2019 Ohio State Report Card.

"I'm not necessarily offering solutions. I'm not laying the blame on anyone," he said. "But I'm saying, here we have a problem and it is on us as a community to allocate resources and support."

When they get to college, it appears Cincinnati Black students are not doing as well as other students (whites, Latinx, and Asian). In his report, Tichavakunda compared rates at Mt. St. Joe University, the University of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University, Xavier and Ohio State. In many instances, Black students are fifteen percentage points lower when it comes to graduation rates.

Tichavakunda says addressing the problem will take community solutions. He's shared his report with the Cincinnati NAACP and the Urban League.