Graduation Rate at 47 Percent for Black Males in the U.S., Study Reveals

The “Yes We Can: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males” reveals some alarming data on the troubling reality of education for black males across all 50 states. For example, Dade County, Fla., Cleveland and Detroit have graduation rates for black-male students at 27 percent.

Specifically, the five worst performing districts with black male student enrollments exceeding 40,000 were determined to be New York City (28%); Philadelphia (28%); Detroit (27%); Broward County, Fla. (39%); and Dade County, Fla. (27%). The districts with the lowest graduation rates for black male students were Pinellas County, Fla. (21%); Palm Beach County, Fla. (22%); Duval County, Fla. (23%); Charleston County, S.C. (24%) and Buffalo, N.Y. (25%).

In comparison, the districts with black male student enrollment exceeding 10,000 that have highest graduation rates for black male students are Newark, N.J. (76%); Fort Bend, Texas (68%); Baltimore County, Md. (67%) and Montgomery County, Md. (65%). Smaller states such as Maine, North Dakota, New Hampshire and Vermont with lower numbers of black males have
graduation rates for black males higher than the national average for white males.

States with black male student enrollment exceeding 100,000 that have the highest graduation rates for black male students are New Jersey (69%), Maryland (55%), California (54%) and Pennsylvania (53%).

Unfortunately, based on this data that was collected during 2007-2008, the overall 2007-2008 graduation rate for black males in the United States was only 47 percent overall. Half of the states have graduation rates for black male students below the national average.

Overall, each year over 100,000 black male students in New York City alone do not graduate from high school with their entering cohort. These statistics — and the other alarming data in this fourth biennial report — point to a national education and economic crisis.

It is easy to say that the system is failing young African American males, in particular with the recent occurrences in Atlanta Public Schools. Moreover, it is true that more investments are required for resources to help black male students succeed in public education.

However, it cannot be overemphasized how we, as a community, are setting up black males to fail, to value material things and fame more than education and hard work. The simple reality is that not only is the American educational system systemically failing black males, but we as a people are also, especially the adults in our communities that seem to promote the same passion for materialism rather than work ethics and reading. –torrance t. stephens, ph.d.

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