A report released last week shows the grim reality of America’s young black males and their educational attainment, and it calls for a White House summit to draw attention to the crisis and start finding solutions.
Just 12 percent of black male 4th graders nationally and 11 percent of those living in large central cities performed at or above proficient levels in reading on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, compared with 38 percent of white males in that grade nationwide, according to the report from the Council of the Great City Schools, a Washington-based coalition of the nation’s urban school districts.
Among 8th graders, only 12 percent of black males across the country and 10 percent living in large cities performed at or above proficient in mathematics, compared with 44 percent of white males in that grade nationwide.
In fact, the report notes, urban black males without identified learning disabilities had reading and math scores, on average, that were lower than those of white males nationwide with identified learning disabilities.
The study also digs into some of the factors that contribute to the frequent lack of success that black male students show, including higher infant-mortality rates, more limited health-care access, and a lower rate of participation in early-childhood-education programs. School-age black males are also more likely to be suspended, be held back a grade, and drop out of school than their white peers.
A version of this article appeared in the November 17, 2010 edition of Education Week as Black Males Found to Trail in Achievement