ETS-CDF Symposium on Advancing Success for Black Men in College

June 16, 2014



Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) will co-sponsor a symposium with some of the nation’s preeminent educators, experts, policymakers, funders and Black men in college to work on advancing Black male success in higher education. In 2002, 72 percent of Black male high school sophomores reported that they “expect to attain a bachelor’s degree or higher”; however, the data show that in 2013 only 17 percent of Black men ages 25–29 actually had attained a bachelor’s degree. Why the disconnect between dreams and reality? On June 23, the ETS-CDF symposium will explore the opportunities and challenges that the college years present for young Black men and highlight solutions that can lead to greater success. 

Along with research, examples and expertise, the symposium will feature Black college men who have traveled different paths to access and afford college. Their stories will inform the discussion in several key areas including:

  • Federal, state and local education and academic policies that promote access, persistence and completion;
  • Clear and reliable pathways for Black men to earn college degrees and transition into careers; and
  • Effective affordability and financing strategies that successfully advance access and completion.


  • Walter MacDonald, ETS
  • Marian Wright Edelman, Children’s Defense Fund
  • Michael Nettles, ETS Policy Evaluation Research Center
  • Jeff Johnson, Illume Communications
  • Sixto Cancel, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Shawon Jackson, Princeton University
  • Marvin Perry, Cuyahoga Community College
  • Javon Mullings, Wheaton College
  • Hal Smith, National Urban League
  • Vanessa Coca, Research Alliance for New York Schools
  • Michael Lawrence Collins, Jobs for the Future
  • Theodore Shaw, Columbia University
  • Bryant Marks, Morehouse College
  • Darren Walker, Ford Foundation
  • John Lee, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
  • Benjamin Castleman, University of Virginia
  • Ronald Mason, Southern University and A&M College System
  • Heather McGhee, Demos
  • Zakiya Smith, Lumina Foundation
  • David Johns, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans
  • Marybeth Gasman, University of Pennsylvania
  • Shaun Harper, University of Pennsylvania
  • Teri Kook, Stuart Foundation
  • J. Luke Wood, San Diego State University


Monday, June 23, 2014

8 a.m.–4 p.m.


National Press Club

529 14th St NW, 13th Floor

Washington, DC 20045

Media wishing to attend this event should contact:

Educational Testing Service – Tom Ewing, 609-683-2803,

Children’s Defense Fund – Patti Hassler, 202-662-3554,

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

About CDF

The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. We pay particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities. CDF educates the nation about the needs of children and encourages preventive investments before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown. CDF began in 1973 and is a private, nonprofit organization supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations.