Yes We Can: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males

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The high school graduation rate for African-American males was just 47 percent in 2007-08, far below the 78 percent rate for white males, says this report released Tuesday by this educational reform foundation.

“The rate at which black males are being pushed out of school and into the pipeline to prison far exceeds the rate at which they are graduating and reaching high levels of academic achievement,” says the on-line report by the Schott Foundation for Public Education. “A deliberate, intense focus is needed to disrupt and redirect the current educational trajectory for black males.”

The report provides data on graduation rates for each state and for the school districts with the lowest and highest black male graduation rates, on the results of standardized testing in each state by race and on disciplinary action nationwide by race. The graduation rates ranged from a low of 25 percent in New York to a high of 98 percent in Maine (one of four states where the rate for blacks exceeds that of whites).

Calculating graduation rates has been a tricky and controversial process, in large part because there is no uniform system among the states. The figures in this report are consistent with other estimates; the U.S. Department of Education cited an academic study in 2008 to state that “only about half of African American and Hispanic students graduate from high school on time with a regular high school diploma.”

This report uses state and district enrollment statistics from the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, and estimates the graduation rates by taking “the number of students receiving diplomas acceptable for further education divided by the number of students beginning high school four years earlier.”

Aside from school reform, the report calls for investing in efforts to help families and communities better serve young black males and prepare them for education.

Free, 44 pages.