Our mission is to increase substantially the number of well-educated young people of color who are capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in American society.
Historically, particularly in urban areas across the country, students of color have not had reasonable access to the highest quality educational options available. They have to rely predominantly on public schools, which tend to have fewer resources than independent schools. Gaps in academic achievement based on race are a predictable result. For example, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, among 8th graders in 2007, African-Americans and Latinos scored lower than whites in standardized math, reading and writing tests.
Racial disparities are also evident among professional positions and earnings. According to the American Medical Association, in 2006 55.8% of physicians were white, while 3.5% were African-American and 5% were Latino. A November 2007 NY Times article "Is There Room at the Top for Black Executives?" cites that 15% of college graduates are African-American and Latino (compared to almost 30% figure for whites), but they only represent 8% of M.B.A. students at the top 25 business schools, only 3% of senior management positions and 1.6% of Fortune 1000 chief executives. Further, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2007, high school graduates make approximately 61% of median weekly earnings of people with Bachelor's degrees and about 40% of those with Doctoral or Professional degrees.
In 1963 at the height of the civil rights movement, 23 headmasters of selective independent schools made a mutual commitment to change the profiles and compositions of their student bodies. Through A Better Chance, they would broaden their enrollment to include students of color who were economically disadvantaged but academically able. Chosen for their motivation and demonstrated achievement, 55 students from low-income families were selected to complete their secondary education at these founding independent schools.
A Better Chance Scholars are a racially diverse group. Approximately 65% are African-American; 20% Latino; 6% Asian American; about 1% Native American; and 8% describe themselves as multi-racial or other. Approximately one-third live at or below the federal poverty line, and virtually all come from working class families. More than 65% of our Scholars come from single-parent households. A Better Chance has grown from 55 students enrolled at nine schools to nearly 1,900 students enrolled in 2008/2009 school year.