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State of the Black Male Student

Nationwide, there is a 28% gap in the graduation rate between black males and their white counterparts. Over the last few years, however, this gap has narrowed, so we know that with dedicated attention to the issues the disparity in performance and graduation can be successfully addressed. Several factors including personal and emotional health, family life, environment, and school conditions have been shown to affect the education of African‐American males:

  • Parents who help their children with homework, who are comfortable talking with teachers and who urge them to do well and maintained high expectations generally have higher‐performing children.
  • Only 20 to 25% of white students report fatherless homes in comparison with 56 to 60% of black students.
  • While Black male students comprise nearly 9% of public school enrollments, less than 4% of those placed in Gifted/Talented programs are Black, non‐ Hispanic males. If Black students were in Gifted/Talented programs proportionate to their enrollments, there would be at least an additional 200,000 male Black students in those programs.
  • African‐American and poor students are 70% more likely than their white and affluent peers to have a teacher who isn’t certified in English, math, science, and social studies.
  • Across three national surveys, high‐achieving black male students perceive their teachers as respectful, building up their strengths and not making them “feel bad” about their weaknesses.
  • Black male students perform best in environments they perceive as safe. Low‐achieving black male students are more than likely to carry a weapon to school for self‐defense than middle or high achieving black male students.
  • African‐American males are more likely to spend time in a detention center or jail than any other race. Surveys show that involvement in the juvenile justice system impairs academic achievement among black males.


“The 50 State Report on Education and Black Males” by John Jackson, Ed.D., J.D. (2008) “Breaking Barriers: Plotting the Path to Academic Success for School‐age African American Males” by Ivory Toldson, Ph.D. (2008)