Under 50% of Young Black Men Graduate from High School

Black students are stranded on the wrong side of graduation.  In 2007-08 only 47% of all black male high school students graduated compared with 78% of white male students.  A recent study has new information.

The study was based on information gathered at the federal, school district and state levels and mirrors closely the finding of the previous year’s findings. In 2006-07 46.7% of black males graduated compared to 73.7% of white males.

Rates Vary From State to State

States with some of the smallest black populations posted some of the best graduation rates. Vermont and North Dakota have graduation rates that even exceed the national average rate of graduation of white males.

New Jersey posted the highest graduation rates for blacks at 65% and New York had the lowest at just 25%. New Jersey credits its graduation rates with the fact that they leveled the funding playing field 20 years ago, so city school districts are funded at the same rate as suburban counterparts. New Jersey also grants higher funding rates to schools that have large at-risk populations.

Reasons Behind the Numbers

The reasons for the low graduation rates are varied. My last two years teaching high school were spent in a drop-out prevention program that was disproportionately male, but while most were either black or English-Language-Learners (ELL), they all shared poor classroom experiences over the course of their school years.

The students I taught had difficulty in highly structured classrooms and with teachers who were overtly authoritative. They also had difficulty grasping the long-term benefits of a good education because their role models were basically under-educated through circumstances beyond their controls or by choice.

In one-on-one settings and with a lot of patience, as well as an abitity to not take things personally, I was often able to turn students on to the idea that they controlled their destiny and could be successes, but in schools where personnel and resources are short, this type of approach is difficult to replicate.

The Schott Foundation

The Schott Foundation for Public Education, which conducted the studies, believes that a lack of political will is ultimately at fault. Funds and the desire to provide them are lacking. Money for access to early education, effective teachers and college preparatory programs is essential. The foundation also believes that some of the disparity problems are the result of inequitable distribution of existing funding.

How long can we continue to throw away our young people? All children deserve the best start at a productive adult life that can be provided.

One child lost is too many.


photo credit: The Graduate by Nazareth College


Tavis H.
Tavis Harrison7 years ago

This makes me sick! Why is it our fault that 50% of black kids don't study and graduate? The reason these kids aren't learning is not the fault of the teacher. The other kids who graduate don't have any problems. It's their own fault that they don't want to learn or obey simple assignment instructions given by the teacher.

Walter G.
Walter G7 years ago

The whole system has failed and is obsolete.

Mrs Shakespeare
Mrs Shakespeare7 years ago

You know what this brought to my mind? That scene from American History X when the dad talks about the black men who got jobs when they dont really deserve them, and only did because of their color.
He should read these scary numbers!

Sophie T.
Sophie T7 years ago

No. x

Colleen F.
Colleen F7 years ago

This is absolutely awful---the cynic in my blames rascism just as much as lack of funding; with the later, at least, with the certain amount of money, all can be healed, but the former, there's nothing anyone can really do about it, outside firing them and loosing a teacher, with all the chaos that surrounds it. I for one would be willing to pay a few more cents to help these young men through high school and not have their ancestral role as serfs forced upon them once more.

Julie F.
Julie F7 years ago

We need to find out why and change it. I know in schools we are trying to get to this but it is hard to change their attitudes...we try to reach them but obviously we are not successful.

Mr T.
Marty S7 years ago

Sad, why is this happening?

trina f.
Trina D. firey7 years ago

"Unfortunately,as long as blacks think that
receiving a good education is "Acting White"
or being an "Uncle Tom" they'll be like the
alligator in the nursery rhyme,who wouldn't go along,
and wouldn't keep still,but just kept bobbing up
and down."

The above is a degrading remark.

trina f.
Trina D. firey7 years ago

this is devistating news. this is a priority. we need to write our senators & get needed programs in place

Philippa P.
Philippa P7 years ago