High school graduation rates for Black boys improve, but disparities persist, report finds

Originally published in Chalkbeat Newark, see the full article here.

Black boys consistently have the lowest high school graduation rates among all race and gender groups, a disparity that could be improved with more government investments, a new study looking at Newark Public Schools and more than a dozen other districts found.

In Newark Public Schools, the four-year high school graduation rate for Black boys was 72% in 2019-20, according to a new report from the Schott Foundation, a national organization that promotes equity in public education. That compares with 86% for all students in the district during that same year, according to the state’s school performance report. Black students accounted for a little more than one-third of the district’s enrollment during the 2021-22 school year.

The report also found that New Jersey had the fifth highest Black male graduation rate in the country, at 86% for 2019-20.

The study analyzed four-year high school graduation rate data between 2012 and 2020, the most recent data published by the federal government. The lack of “consistent” federal data is one of the reasons the organization produced the report.

“At the federal and state level, there needs to be more consistency in collecting and publishing this data,” said John Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation.

During the 2022-23 school year, Newark Public Schools’ overall high school graduation rate was 86%, according to the state’s school performance report.

High school graduation is a significant indicator of a young person’s future success, Jackson said.

Jackson said establishing environments that promote success for Black boys in and out of school — what his foundation calls “loving systems” — is the key to raising graduation rates. But providing consistent support for Black boys also yields positive outcomes for all students, the report found.

“It’s not about establishing a few good schools. But again, it’s about building the loving system within Newark and all cities,” Jackson said.

Read the rest of the article at Chalkbeat Newark >

Read the full Schott Foundation report on Black male students >