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State News: August 2009



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Study: Graduation Rate Gap Exists Between Black, White Males

By Tim Weldon, CSG Policy Analyst
A new report concludes that nearly 55 years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, a majority of African-American males in this country are still not graduating from high school. The report, Given Half a Chance: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, examines gaps in graduation rates between black and white males in public high schools.
The report finds that the 47 percent national graduation rate for black males is nearly 28 percentage points lower than that for white males. In 10 states, the report said the graduation rate gap exceeds 30 percentage points, led by Wisconsin, with a gap of 51 percentage points between the graduation rates of white males and black males.
In at least three states, males were more likely to graduate from high schools than their white counterparts, according to the report. And each of those states—North Dakota, Vermont and Maine—have relatively small black populations. “This underscores the fact that when black males are given access to schools and resources similar to those given to white males, their performance levels improve,” the report said.
The report points out that most schools with black majority enrollments do not have libraries, an adequate supply of textbooks and computers, art and music programs and science labs. It also concludes that when black students attend schools with talented, caring teachers, well-trained support staff, and challenging curricula, black males graduate at rates similar to white males.
Black males in large metropolitan school districts are particularly at risk for dropping out of school, according to the report. Only 19 percent of both black and white males graduated from high schools in Indianapolis, the lowest rate of any large school district in the study.
The report (www.blackboysreport.org) was prepared by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, which tracked the performance of African-American males in public school systems over a five year period.


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