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July 25, 2008

Report tracks African-American boys

The Schott Foundation for Public Education today released a report on the state of education as it pertains to African-American males. It also launched an interactive Web site with all sorts of interesting information about the achievement gap for black boys. Check it out here.

The report contains data not only for the 50 states, but also for their largest school districts. According to Schott's calculations, Maryland's graduation rate for black boys in 2005-2006 was slightly higher than the national average: 55 percent, compared with 47 percent nationally. That's due in part to the fact that Baltimore County reported one of the nation's highest graduation rates for African-American males, 72 percent. Montgomery County's rate was 69 percent and Prince George's was 59 percent. And then there was Baltimore City: 31 percent.

Using data from 2004-2005, the report said white, non-Hispanic boys were admitted to gifted and talented programs in Baltimore at twice the rate of black boys. Four times as many white boys as black participated in math Advanced Placement courses. Nine times as many white boys took science A.P. courses. Although this information is nearly four years old, it highlights the opportunities that have long existed for the small number of white students (less than 10 percent of total enrollment) in the city school system.

The report's release and the Web site launch coincided with this week's UNITY convention of 10,000 journalists of color, who gathered in Chicago.

Posted by Sara Neufeld at 9:43 PM | | Comments (5)


I'm lost on this grievance over AP participation. I thought AP(Advanced Placement) courses were courses taught at the college level in order to allow high school students to take a national examination (same questions for everyone). If one could answer the college level questions successfully, most colleges would give credit. So any student who accepts this rigorous academic challenge, black or white or brown, can do so; and the test will say whether he or she was successful. Access is not the issue here; taking the hard road of AP academic challenge is being refused by too many black students. They should realize also how much money can be saved in college tuition if one choose to work hard and succeed in AP courses in high school.

I think the reality is not all high schools offer AP classes and so access is at least part of the issue. I would guess that this is due to both lack of student demand and lack of AP teachers in some high schools.

Additional problems that is could be attributed to: lack of preparation for the AP classes (quality of middle school and underclass high school classes), lack of recognition from family and friends when a student is successful in an academically challenging course, lack of seeing college as a path to follow (in which case an AP class won't save college tuition).

What about IB courses? Lots of African American males take IB courses at City College, and, in my view, IB is a superior and more rigorous college preparatory curriculum than AP. The numbers are skewed if IB isn't included in the study when talking about BCPSS...

Of course AP courses are for those students who are dedicated to hard work and achievement. The problem is that at many schools, where AP courses are offered, African-American males are not reccomended for these courses. It is not like a student can just say "Hey I think I will enroll in an AP course this semester". There is a reccomendation process which, no matter high gifted the African-American Male is, he is usually denied access to the course.

Thanks to those who posted comments-a teacher, a parent and Taking Notes. I agree with them. IB is definitely a rigorous program of learning and well-respected at colleges. I was sorry to learn that students have to be recommended or accepted if they want to take AP courses. No one should be denied acceptance. As long as schools and teachers are rated on student AP performance, there always will be an incentive for them to refuse students who have shown no previous effort to succeed at that high level. I prefer the no-fault system of allowing a student to enter the AP class and opt-out after two weeks into a regular class in the subject, if it seems too difficult. I know this puts strain on the school system's hiring and allocation of top teachers for AP but that's the price of potentially greater minority student participation and performance. Give them a chance at least to perform.

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