Gateway Cities Education Vision – SouthCoast
Early education, social and emotional growth, pathway to college and career, newcomers
MassINC’s Gateway Cities Innovation Institute facilitated a year-long series of planning sessions with Gateway City mayors, managers, and education leaders. The goal was to identify effective models that utilize existing assets to build education systems, providing high-quality learning experiences. The aim of the vision is to ignite local economic growth by fully equipping students with the 21st-century skills and ensuring a sufficient supply of skilled labor force.
The full definition of the Vision can be found on p.3 of the Gateway Cities Vision. All further page references refer to that document.
Why does the Gateway Cities Education Vision matter?
“In the 24 Gateway Cities, persistent achievement and attainment gaps are disproportionately affecting students from lower-income families, students of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities. This has led to High school students in the Gateway Cities have an average four-year graduation rate of just 63%. In some Gateway Cities, as few as 15% of incoming 9th graders complete high school on time and enroll in a four-year college or university. Only 21% of Gateway Cities residents who are 25 years of age or older have attained a bachelor’s degree, compared with the state average of 39%. Gateway Cities residents have an unemployment rate of 7.3% compared with a statewide average of 6%.” (p. 5, Gateway Cities Education Agenda)
“The Vision identifies a set of policies that would enable Gateway Cities to forge their many educational assets into dynamic community- wide learning systems that fuel local economic growth and increase the state’s competitive edge. The Vision outlines four focal points for state policy development: early education, social-emotional growth, pathways to college and career, and support for newcomers. The Vision also highlights key metrics that Gateway Cities must develop and communicate to demonstrate success.” (p. 10)
What are measures of success for the Vision?
Below is a snapshot of the vision that indicates the policies identified to improve education in the Gateway Cities and shows selected metrics of how the success of those policies will be measured (p. 10, the Gateway Cities Vision).
How are the SouthCoast Gateway Cities doing?
1. *Percent of preschool-aged children enrolled in an early education program: Fall River: 52.1% / New Bedford: 47.5%
There are 2,325 children of ages 3-4 in Fall River and 2,650 in New Bedford. It is estimated that 52.1 percent of preschool-aged children in Fall River are enrolled in an early education program (1). Meanwhile, less than half of preschool-aged children in New Bedford (47.5%) are enrolled in one. Both Fall River and New Bedford fall below the statewide average (58.7%) when it comes to the percentage of children 3-4 years of age that are enrolled in an education program (2).
2. Percent of third graders who scored “Meeting or Exceeding Expectations” on the reading portion of the MCAS: Fall River: 34% / New Bedford: 41%
In Fall River, 34 percent of third grade students score “Meeting or Exceeding Expectations on the MCAS examination. In New Bedford, a slightly higher percentage of third graders (37%) meet or exceed expectations on the MCAS. Both of the Gateway Cities fall significantly behind the state average of third grade students who meet expectations on the test (47%) (3).
>>Social and Emotional Growth
3. *Percent of high school students who report having not gone to school because they felt they would be unsafe at school or on their way to or from school: Fall River: 12.3% / New Bedford: 8%
In Fall River, 12.3 percent of high school students skipped school in 2013 at least once in the 30 days before the survey because they felt unsafe either at school or on their way to school (up from 7.4% in 2011) (3). In New Bedford, 8 percent of high school students skipped school in 2012 at least once in 30 days because they felt unsafe (up from 7% in 2011) (7). Statewide, the most recent available data of 2011 shows that five percent (5%) of high school students did not go to school at least once in 30 days because they felt unsafe (4).
>>Pathways to College and Career
4. *Percent of graduates attending post-secondary institutions: Fall River: 59.7% / New Bedford: 62.5%
In 2014-15, out of the 591 Fall River high school graduates, 293 students (59.7%) enrolled in a college or university. In the same year, out of the 333 students who graduated from high school in New Bedford, 208 of them (62.5%) went on to attend a higher education institution. Both Fall River and New Bedford fall well behind Massachusetts where statewide, 75.9 percent of all high school graduates attend post-secondary institutions (5).
5. *Percent of English Language Learners (ELLs) attending post-secondary institutions: Fall River: 60.7% / New Bedford: 45.5%
In Fall River, there were 28 ELL students in the 2014-15 cohort who graduated from high school. Among these graduates, 60.7 percent or 17 enrolled in a college or university. Out of the 22 ELL students in the 2014-15 cohort in New Bedford who graduated, 10 graduates, less than half (45.5%), went on to enroll in an institution of higher education. Across the entire state of Massachusetts, nearly 70 percent (60.9%) of ELL high school graduates enrolled in either a college or university. Furthermore, the majority of ELL graduates in Massachusetts (59.9%) opted to attend a public, two-year institution (5).
What’s being done to address the Gateway Cities Education Vision, and where can I learn more?
Read the full report here
The Urban Initiative and MassINC hosted the SouthCoast Education Vision Forum at UMass Dartmouth on March 28th, 2014 to share the data presented here.
*Limitations of data:
Not all of the measures of success outlined in the vision are currently measurable based on existing and publicly available data. Those measures include:
- Early education: data is not available on kindergarteners who have had a “quality pre-k experience.”
- Social and emotional growth: data is not available on participation in structured after-school activities.
- Pathways to college and career: data is not available on the proportion of students with work-based learning experience or the proportion of high school students who graduate with college credit
- Newcomers: data is not available on the proportion of students in two-way bilingual education programs or the percentage of First Language Not English (FLNE) students who complete post-secondary credential (in this case, the Urban Initiative substituted ELL college-going rates for this measure)
Data sources and methods:
(1) The Public Policy Center defines preschool-aged children to be 3-4 years of age
(2) US Census Bureau 2012-2016 American Community Survey
(3) Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s 2017 Next Generation MCAS Achievement Results
(4) 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Fall River students in grades 9-12
(5) Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Graduates Attending Higher Education Report
(6) 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey for New Bedford students in grades 9-12 via New Bedford Health Department