Schott Foundation to Step Up Advocacy for Black Males

By Christina A. Samuels — August 05, 2008 3 min read

The Schott Foundation for Public Education, which tracks the educational progress of black males, plans to step up its efforts to see that graduation-rate gaps are closed.

John H. Jackson, the head of the Cambridge, Mass.-based foundation, said last month that the organization was issuing a challenge to school districts to promote a 50 percent increase in the graduation rate of black males in the next five years.

“If there isn’t a timetable, the plans can go in perpetuity,” said Mr. Jackson, who became the president and chief executive officer of the foundation in July 2007.

Since 2004, the foundation has tracked the school performance of African-American boys. This year’s report, released last month in Chicago at the annual UNITY convention of minority journalists, shows that 53 percent of black males did not receive diplomas with their cohort during the 2005-06 school year.

“Unfortunately, it’s pretty much the same thing,” said Michael Holzman, a research consultant for the foundation and the author of the report.

Mr. Holzman said that schools enrolling large numbers of black male students are not as good as schools with a larger population of white students: The teachers are not as experienced and effective, the schools lack resources, and the curriculum is not as challenging. Non-black students enrolled at such schools, he said, also did not graduate at the same rate as their counterparts in schools that had fewer black students.

“They’re not doing well either,” he said.

‘Leadership Deficit’

To address the problem, the foundation called for a dedicated undertaking from schools and community groups.

Mr. Jackson said the organization also will work with public and private entities, such as the Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies initiative, a New York City-based group working on closing the achievement gap in the city.

The challenge, he said, will be in getting districts and states to change in the ways he believes would address the problem. The foundation said it also plans to lobby Congress and states to establish meaningful penalties for schools with low graduation rates of black males.

“There’s a leadership deficit across the country on this issue. We’re calling for a fundamental shift in how resources are allocated,” Mr. Jackson said. “I’m hoping that this will serve, again, as a call to action.”

Arne Duncan, the chief executive officer of the 409,000-student Chicago district, accompanied Mr. Jackson as he released the report. Mr. Duncan touted his district’s efforts to graduate black boys, while acknowledging that there still are problems to be fixed.

“None of us are satisfied. None of us are where we want to be, but there’s been some very important strides in the right direction,” Mr. Duncan said. For instance, he said, a push toward smaller schools, charter schools, and tracking students into college-preparatory classes has helped.

“Over the past five years, at the elementary side, our African-American students have improved at a faster rate than our white students,” he said. “So there’s still absolutely a gap, but we are closing the gap.”

Chicago, which has the nation’s second-highest enrollment of black males, had a graduation rate of 37 percent for African-American boys, compared with 62 percent for white males, the Schott report found. In addition, the report found, the school systems in New York City, Detroit, and Miami-Dade County, Fla., also did not graduate the majority of their black male enrollments.

The states with the lowest graduation-rate gap also had the fewest black students. In North Dakota, for example, a state with 796 black male students in 2005-06, about 89 percent of black male students graduated with their cohort, compared with 84 percent of white males, the report found.

A version of this article appeared in the August 13, 2008 edition of Education Week as Black Males Still Lag in Graduation, Report Says

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Federal Biden Calls for $130 Billion in New K-12 Relief, Scaled Up Testing, Vaccination Efforts
President-elect Joe Biden proposed new aid for schools as part of a broader COVID-19 relief plan, which will require congressional approval.
5 min read
First-grade teacher Megan Garner-Jones, left, and Principal Cynthia Eisner silent clap for their students participating remotely and in-person at School 16, in Yonkers, N.Y., on Oct. 20, 2020.
First-grade teacher Megan Garner-Jones, left, and Principal Cynthia Eisner silent clap for their students participating remotely and in-person at School 16, in Yonkers, N.Y.
Mary Altaffer/AP
Federal Who Is Miguel Cardona? Education Secretary Pick Has Roots in Classroom, Principal's Office
Many who've worked with Joe Biden's pick for education secretary say he's ready for what would be a giant step up.
15 min read
Miguel Cardona, first-time teacher, in his fourth-grade classroom at Israel Putnam School in Meriden, Ct. in August of 1998.
Miguel Cardona, chosen to lead the U.S. Department of Education, photographed in his 4th-grade classroom at Israel Putnam School in Meriden, Conn., in 1998.
Courtesy of the Record-Journal
Federal Obama Education Staff Involved in Race to the Top, Civil Rights Join Biden's White House
Both Catherine Lhamon and Carmel Martin will serve on President-elect Joe Biden's Domestic Policy Council.
4 min read
Federal Opinion What Conservatives Should Be for When It Comes to Education
Education is ultimately about opportunity, community, and empowerment, and nothing should resonate more deeply with the conservative heart.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty