As Black college enrollment lags, study suggests strengthening communities

Originally published at EdSource, May 21, 2024

Across the nation, more Black students are graduating from high school — but fewer are attending college, according to a report released by the Schott Foundation for Public Education.

A study released Tuesday by the organization examined 15 districts throughout the country that collectively educate more than 250,000 Black male students, two of which are in California: the Los Angeles Unified School District, the largest school district in the state, where 7% of students are Black, and the Oakland Unified School District, which has an enrollment of about 45,000, 21% of students being Black.

With a 71% graduation rate, Black males at Oakland Unified were among the five lowest in the country — hovering above Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Minneapolis. At 75%, Los Angeles Unified’s wasn’t much higher.

“It’s clear that there is something that has to happen across California,” said John Jackson, the CEO and president of the Schott Foundation.

“If you take L.A. Unified and Oakland Unified as two of the largest districts in the state — and two districts that have the largest Black male population — there is something that has to happen.”

Jackson added that any efforts by LAUSD are especially critical and could “potentially catalyze progress across the country.”

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