50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males

The United States gets a big red ‘F’ for its efforts to educate black youth in this country.  Last week, Justin’s blog highlighted some of the abysmal performance data for black male students in California. Then, I read the recently-released 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males from the Schott Foundation for Public Education.  It’s one thing to have a general sense that the state of education for black males in the U.S. is pathetic.  But, it’s another thing to actually SEE such alarming data.  I’m proud to be working for a foundation that is trying to make a dent in providing a solution to this crisis, but it’s much too big of a problem for only a handful of foundations to be tackling.

Just to give you a taste of these numbers, in 2007-08, the report shows that the overall 2007-08 graduation rate for black males in the U.S. was only 47 percent (78% for white males).  California graduated 54% of it’s black male students and 78% of white males.  If the numbers were reversed, what kind of education reform do you think would be happening nationwide right now?  New York has the lowest graduation rate for black males at 25% with 68% of white males having graduated high school in 2007-08.  Maryland has the highest graduation rate for black male students among the states with the largest enrollment of black students, and it graduates 55% of black males and 77% of white males.

This is a crisis.  There are some locales that have had success in closing the achievement gap.  For example, Newark, New Jersey went from 47% of black males graduating in 2001-02 to 75% of black males (62% white males) graduating in 2007-08.  What is Newark doing right that can be replicated elsewhere?  If ‘children are our future’, what kind of future are we going to have if we can’t even successfully educate youth in our public school system?  I want to end on a good note.  There are lots of great Bay Area organizations out there who are trying to help black youth and youth of color succeed in high school and go on to college.  If you know some youth who need educational assistance, please make them aware of our College Bound Brotherhood database so they can access support services in their neighborhoods.  And, if you know of a great program that supports college access for low-income youth and youth of color in the Bay Area that you think we should know about, please let us know.

Image source: library.fgcu.edu

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