New National Study Finds High School Graduation Rates for Black Boys Abysmal Versus that of Other Student Groups

Cambridge, MA – “Public Education and Black Male Students: A State Report Card,” published by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, shows that, on average, 60 percent of US Black male students do not graduate from high school.

“This is a national disgrace for a country that claims to place importance on educating all of its children. The graduation outcomes of Black males — clearly the most vulnerable student population in the US–should serve as the litmus test for the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act,” says Rosa A. Smith, President of the Schott Foundation for Public Education and former Superintendent of Columbus, Ohio Public Schools.

“It’s astounding how pervasive the educational neglect and disregard is for this vulnerable student population.  It all starts when these young fellows arrive to kindergarten already behind their Caucasian peers.  Soon after, they are tracked into special education programs and not longer after that, for many, their sad societal fate is sealed.  It doesn’t have to be this way,” says the report’s author, Michael Holzman.

The report highlights disparities in the quality of education provided to African-Americans by examining high school graduation rates of Black and White non-Hispanic males. Graduation rates are measured by comparing grade 9 enrollments with diploma attainment three years later.

In 2001/2002 59 percent of African-American males did not receive diplomas with their cohort. Two states—South Dakota and Maine—graduated less than 30 percent of their small number of Black male students on schedule. Thirteen others—Wisconsin, South Carolina, New York, Nebraska, Montana, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Hawaii—graduated only between 30 percent and 40 percent with their peer group.

Much of the problem is concentrated in a few large cities. New York City and Chicago, for example, enrolling nearly 10 percent of the nation’s Black male students between them, fail to graduate 70 percent of those with their peers.

The report is available in PDF format at the Schott Foundation for Public Education’s website: