Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite joined community college leaders Wednesday to discuss the long-term educational impact on students of color whose final years of high school were disrupted by the pandemic.

The Center for Community College Student Engagement, or CCSSE, at The University of Texas at Austin released details from a survey about the impacts of COVID on the student experience at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. According to the survey, Black students, particularly Black males, experienced the most challenges with accessing technology and or just having enough food for themselves and their families.

During the virtual discussion, the four panelists said more should be done to help get Black male students through college.

“We are focused intently on trying to come up with a way to think about education, the broader landscape of education, as a K-16 cycle where we know young people will need some form of postsecondary education in order to be successful,” Hite said.

The problem starts before students ever get to college.

The Philadelphia school district classifies its schools based on state standardized tests, rating them as schools on track, near track, and off track. Out of 57 high schools, only seven are considered on track. Those seven schools have the lowest percentages of Black or Latino students enrolled.

In contrast, the enrollment of off-track schools is 58% Black, 25% Latino, and 7.8% white.

“How can we get them to the finish line If they’re not even here?” asked Guy Generals, president of the Community College of Philadelphia, or CCP. “How can we help them be successful if they’re not at college?”

Read the full article about getting Black male students through college by Johann Calhoun at Chalkbeat Philadelphia.