Only 47 percent of America’s black males graduate from high school on time, according to a new report from a philanthropic organization.
The report is the fourth such biennial accounting by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Schott Foundation for Public Education.
Based on federal, district, and state data, the report says that 53 percent of African-American males did not graduate with their peers in the 2007-08 school year. In contrast, 78 percent of white males graduated from high school on time, an increase of 3 percentage points since the foundation’s last report, in 2008.
Some states with small populations, such as Vermont and North Dakota, have graduation rates for black males that are higher than the national average for white males. New Jersey, at 65 percent, has the highest graduation rate among states with more than 100,000 black male students, while New York’s graduation rate, at 25 percent, is the lowest of any state.
The New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago districts were among those with large black male enrollments that posted the lowest graduation rates, while school systems in Newark, N.J.; Fort Bend, Texas; and Baltimore County, Md., had some of the highest graduation rates for African-American males.
John H. Jackson, the foundation’s president and chief executive officer, said the low national graduation rate for black males must increase if the United States is to reach President Barack Obama’s goal of leading the world in the percentage of college graduates by 2020.
“It just seems to be that the U.S. is systemically failing black males,” he said, “yet policymakers and educators aren’t making the tough decisions to provide all students the opportunity to learn.”
A version of this article appeared in the August 25, 2010 edition of Education Week as Diploma Rates Found to Lag for Black Males