August 17, 2010; Source: Beyond Chron | A new report on the graduation rates of black males is enough the make even the most hopeful among us cringe. In fact, that’s exactly how Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, reacts to findings that out of 50 states, half have graduation rates for Black male students below the national average. In addition, “Yes We Can: The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Black Males in Public Education,” reveals that New York’s graduation rate of only 25 percent for Black male students is the lowest of any state.
It’s those kind of findings that lead Canada to say that the numbers in the report “form a nightmarish picture–one that is all the more frightening for being both true and long-standing.” Adds Canada, “It is the responsibility of the adults around them to turn these trajectories around. All of us must ensure that we level the playing field for the hundreds of thousands of children who are at risk of continuing the cycle of generational poverty. The key to success is education.”
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Schott Foundation for Public Education President and CEO Dr. John H. Jackson is equally unequivocal is his assessment of the study’s findings: “Currently, the rate at which Black males are being pushed out of school and into the pipeline to prison far exceeds the rate at which they are graduating and reaching high levels of academic achievement. It is not enough to focus on saving the few. We must focus on systemic change to provide all our children the opportunity to learn.”
Although much doom and gloom surrounds the report, the larger purpose, says Jackson, is “to hold policymakers and school districts accountable for facilitating changes to increase high school graduation rates of Black male students and the educational opportunity for all students.” —Bruce Trachtenberg