TheSchott Foundationreport, “The Urgency of Now,” provides a 2012 – 50 state report on public education and Black male achievement. It should be clear to parents of Black males that the success of their sons, rests solely in their hands. Whether they are educated or uneducated, financially successful or living in poverty, living in a suburban community or in the inner city, they must accept ownership of their son’s learning.

The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males data indicate nationally the gap between the Black and White male graduation rate has only decreased three percentage points in the last 10 years. At this rate of progress, with no “large sale” systemic intervention, it would take another 50 years to close the graduation gap between Black males and their White counterparts.

Our failure to institutionalize the supports necessary to provide Black males with a substantive opportunity for success has yield a climate where in 2011, according to NAEP, academically only 10 percent of Black male 8th graders are deemed proficient in 8th grade reading, and only 52 percent are graduating from high school in a four-year period  (p. 2).

I am a child of poverty and a first generation college graduate. My father had an 8th grade education and my mother had only a 10th grade education. However, my mother and father did not entrust my fate to Chicago Public Schools. While they could not help me with homework or prepare me for tests and quizzes, they made sure that I was focused on college and they made my school work a household priority.

Due to my parents’ unrelenting affirmation that I would attend college, now, my wife and I are college educated parents with the intellectual tools to guide our sons through their schooling. Like my parents, my wife and I did not entrust the fate of our sons to their respective schools. We advocated for them, guided them, and ensured that their academic achievement was a household priority. Subsequently, our older son is about to graduate from Amherst College and our younger son has just entered Morehouse Collegeas a recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship.

If the findings of this report are not enough to move parents to seeking out the help they need to ensure their sons are learning what they need to know today in preparation for college tomorrow, then tragically little will change in regard to the future of our children. Parents, faith-based institutions, fraternities, sororities, professional and community organizations must understand that school systems and programs will not save our children.

The report notes that in 38 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Black males have the lowest graduation rates among Black, Latino and White, non-Latino male and female students (p. 6). Below are other key findings in the report.

The four-year high school graduation rates for males nationally are (p. 7):

  • 78 percent, White males
  • 58 percent, Latino males
  • 52 percent, Black males

The ten states with the highest Black male high school graduation rates are:

  1. 97 percent: Maine
  2. 84 percent: Arizona
  3. 82 percent: Vermont
  4. 76 percent: Utah
  5. 73 percent: Idaho
  6. 72 percent: Oregon
  7. 71 percent: Alaska
  8. 65 percent: Minnesota
  9. 65 percent: South Dakota
  10. 64 percent: Oklahoma, Rhode Island

The ten states with the lowest Black male high school graduation rates are:

  1. 37 percent: New York
  2. 38 percent: District of Columbia
  3. 41 percent: Iowa
  4. 44 percent: Nebraska
  5. 45 percent: Ohio
  6. 46 percent: South Carolina
  7. 47 percent: Delaware
  8. 47 percent: Florida
  9. 47 percent: Illinois
  10. 49 percent: Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, New Mexico

School districts with the highest Black male high school graduation rates are:

  1. 74 percent: Montgomery County (MD)
  2. 74 percent: Newark (NJ)
  3. 68 percent: Cumberland County (NC)
  4. 67 percent: Baltimore County (MD)
  5. 67 percent: Guilford County (NC)
  6. 60 percent: Fort Bend (TX)
  7. 59 percent: Wake County (NC)
  8. 55 percent: Palm Beach County (FL)
  9. 55 percent: Prince George’s County (MD)
  10. 54 percent: Virginia Beach (VA)

School districts with the lowest Black male high school graduation rates are:

  1. 9 percent: Rochester (NW)
  2. 20 percent: Detroit (MI)
  3. 22 percent: Clark County (NV)
  4. 24 percent: Philadelphia (PA)
  5. 27 percent: Chatham County (GA)
  6. 27 percent: Richmond County (GA)
  7. 28 percent: Cleveland (OH)
  8. 28 percent: New York (NY)
  9. 28 percent: Jackson (MS)
  10. 32 percent: Norfolk (VA)

Black male graduation rates for the largest school districts are:

  1. Atlanta, GA: 42 percent
  2. Baltimore, MD: 40 percent
  3. Charlotte, NC: 44 percent
  4. Chicago, IL: 39 percent
  5. Cincinnati, OH: 33 percent
  6. DC: 38 percent
  7. Dallas, TX: 35 percent
  8. Detroit, MI: 20 percent
  9. Houston, TX: 40 percent
  10. Los Angeles, CA: 41 percent
  11. Memphis, TN: 43 percent
  12. New York, NY: 28 percent
  13. Philadelphia, PA: 24 percent
  14. Rochester, NY: 9 percent

States where less than 10 percent of Black males are proficient in reading by 8th grade are:

  1. 4 percent: California
  2. 6 percent: Arkansas
  3. 6 percent: South Carolina
  4. 7 percent: Michigan
  5. 7 percent: Mississippi
  6. 7 percent: Nebraska
  7. 8 percent: Alabama
  8. 8 percent: DC
  9. 8 percent: Louisiana
  10. 8 percent: Missouri
  11. 9 percent: Indiana
  12. 9 percent: North Carolina
  13. 9 percent: Ohio
  14. 9 percent: Tennessee
  15. 9 percent: Wisconsin

With only 10 percent of Black males reading on a proficient level by 8th grade, any significant increases in Black male high school graduation rates and college matriculation rates will only occur within those households, faith-based organizations, and communities, where academic achievement becomes a priority.

The percentage of adults (25 year-olds and higher) holding a bachelor’s degree of higher:

  • 32 percent of White males
  • 16 percent of Black males
  • 12 percent of Latino males

Click here to download the full report…