Sunday, September 12, 2010
Black Male Grad Rates: Despair, And A Ray Of Hope : NPR
In the past few weeks, more than 400,000 young black men entered American high schools as freshmen. Four years from now, fewer than half of them will get diplomas.
That's according to a new study from the Schott Foundation for Public Education. It found that only 47 percent of black male students entering high school in 2003 graduated in 2008. For white males, the graduation rate was 78 percent.
Not Necessarily Black And White
Detroit had one of the worst black male graduation rates for any city: 27 percent. But the graduation rate for young white men was even worse, at 19 percent.
Jackson says those number prove that a lack of resources affects everyone — not just one racial group.
"What makes it a race and ethnicity issue is that more black males are in poorly resourced schools and have less access to the types of resources needed to learn," Jackson says.
The Trend Can Be Reversed
There's hope in the story of New Jersey. In 2003, black male students there were graduating at a rate of 48 percent. Just five years later, that rate soared to 75 percent.
Jackson attributes New Jersey's turnaround to the changes made because of a court case, Abbott v. Burke. Parents sued, and a judge found the state spent less in schools with two-thirds African American enrollment. He ordered the state to spend the same across the board.
Jackson says the state decided to fund areas that education experts have shown to be effective, such as early childhood education and hiring high-quality teachers.
"And in there, we know there is a need for extended-day learning," Jackson says, "perhaps even year-round schooling for those who are behind to recover."