K-12 Research and Resources

As the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization, UNCF has always been committed to increasing the number of African American college graduates. Now, we have expanded our focus to include increasing the number of African Americans who are college-ready.

 K-12 Advocacy

Cover image of the Parent Report, titled "Hear Us, Believe Us: Centering African American Parent Voices in K-12 EducationHear Us, Believe Us: Centering African American Parent Voices in K-12 Education (2024)
African American parents are critical stakeholders in the education system. As such, this report illuminates the perspective of African American parents and caregivers on key issues in education, such as race, college readiness, Black teacher representation, parental engagement and more. This report begins the 2nd edition of the UNCF Perceptions Research Series.


cover of Black students and indy schools Black Students and Indianapolis Schools: A Data Snapshot (2022)
Marion County is the largest county in Indiana and serves the highest percentage of Black students in the state, however, Black students are less likely than White students to meet early college success criteria or even enroll in college at all. The data below show a brief snapshot of the landscape in Marion County for Black students and in some instances, Indiana overall.



The HBCU Resource Guide (2022)
The guide is designed to assist in learning more about historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). This document provides information on scholarships, college- planning databases and key facts about HBCUs.





Safety and School Resource Officers: Framing a Legislative Agenda (2020)
This joint brief with Howard University proposes tangible legislative actions that can occur at federal, state, and local levels to address school safety and school resource officers (SROs). The brief provides 7 key recommendations to address issues such as racial disparities in restraints of students, data loopholes, community voice, and SRO role ambiguity.


Faith in Action: Tips and Tools for Education Advocacy (2020)
UNCF and The Expectations Project (TEP) teamed up to create a brief document that provides tips and tools to help clergy and leaders in the faith engage in educational equity issues.  A profession of faith calls for compassion and a willingness to speak up against injustice. To learn more, please go to: uncf.org/faithedadvocacy



imparting wisdom cover thumbImparting Wisdom: HBCU Lessons for K-12 Education (2020)
The report details historically black colleges and universities’ (HBCUs) longstanding efforts to provide quality educational experiences for their students and how their success may be translated in K-12 schools—specifically schools with demographics similar to HBCU populations.

imparting wisdom flyer cover Summary: Imparting Wisdom (2020)
A one-page summary highlighting the results of the research.





A Seat at the Table: African American Youth’s Perceptions of K-12 Education (2018)
The role to be played by youth is just as important as that of leaders and parents. They are, after all, the stakeholders whose response to reform will determine if it succeeds or fails. Of the three groups, they are the only one with firsthand knowledge of what happens in the classroom. And, all too often, they do not have a seat at the table during reform discussions. This study, the third installment of UNCF’s African American perceptions research on key issues in K-12 education, begins to remedy that omission.

Infographic: A Seat at the Table: African American Youth’s Perceptions of K-12 Education (2018)
A one-page infographic highlighting the results of the research.



Infographic: The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2018: African American Students (2018)
This one pager highlights the 2018 ACT college readiness outcomes for African American students.




Getting into College: A Readiness Guide (2023)
UNCF’s college readiness brochure provides a comprehensive college readiness checklist, outlines the pivotal steps in preparing for college, and shares additional websites and resources that are useful to students as they prepare for their post-secondary journey.

The Lift Every Voice and Lead Toolkit: A Community Leader’s Advocacy Resource for K-12 Education (2017)
The Toolkit, a complement to “Lift Every Voice and Lead: African American Grasstops Leaders’ Perceptions of K-12 Reform”, provides tangible tips, strategies, talking points and resources to help grasstops who are serious about using their influence to make transformational change for all youth.

Lift Every Voice and Lead: African American Grasstops Leaders’ Perceptions of K-12 Education Reform (2017)
This report, issued by UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute (FDPRI), is an authoritative assessment of the potential for African American community leaders—a group of clergy, local politicians, business leaders and education leaders often described as “grasstops” to parallel community members at the “grassroots”—to garner support for K-12 public school reform. But, just as importantly, Lift Every Voice and Lead is a call to action for these leaders to help their communities exert their necessary influence on education reform.

Infographic: Lift Every Voice and Lead: African American Grasstops Leaders’ Perceptions of K-12 Education Reform (2017)
A one-page infographic highlighting the results of the research.



Building Better Narratives in Black Education (2016)
UNCF, the National Urban League, and Education Post produced this joint report, providing tangible approaches to shift the narrative concerning Black educational reform. The findings of the report aim to better engage communities around K-12 education and drive substantive policy changes for Black students.


The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2015: African American Students (2016)
Are African American high school students prepared for college and careers? Are enough African American students taking core courses that will prepare them for college and careers? The UNCF and the American College Testing Program collaboratively released a report providing a national snapshot of the academic performance among African American students in the high school graduating class who took the ACT college readiness assessment.

The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2014: African American Students (2015)
As the data in this report indicate, many African American students do well in school and important progress has been made in increasing educational attainment over the last several decades. But significant gaps remain between current levels of achievement and the more equitable levels of college and career readiness needed.

I Have a Question: What Parents and Caregivers Can Ask and Do to Help Children Thrive at School
This tool provides you with a set of questions to ask, and important issues to consider when approaching your child’s teachers, principals and counselors about his or her development. As a parent or caregiver, it can be hard to know how to support your child’s learning, but asking your child’s educators the right questions is a good place to start.

Done to Us, Not With Us: African American Parent Perceptions of K-12 Education (2012)
This publication explores how low-income African American parents view the K-12 education system and their role in supporting their children.


Infographic: Done to Us, Not With Us: African American Parent Perceptions of K-12 Education (2012)
A one-page infographic highlighting the results of the research.