Despite notable gains, report finds black male students still imperiled
Baltimore has been celebrating in recent weeks statistics that show the district's black male students have made notable gains in achievement, and were even the driving force behind the district's record graduation rate (66 percent) and low dropout rate (4 percent).
But, a new report released today by the Council for Great City Schools -- an organization composed of leaders from large, urban districts -- shows that black male students nationwide are still in an academic crisis when compared to their white counterparts.
The findings were released today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and city schools CEO Andres Alonso was in attendance. The report calls on officials all the way up to those in the White House to address what they deemed a "national catastrophe" taking place around the country.
Some highlights of the findings were:
- In readiness to learn, black children were twice as likely to live in a household where no parent had full-time or year-round employment in 2008. And in 2007, one out of every three black children lived in poverty compared with one out of every 10 white children.
- The first analysis of the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) -- which city students participate in -- revealed that in the 2009 fourth-grade reading assessment only 12 percent of black male students nationally and 11 percent of those living in large central cities performed at or above proficient levels, compared with 38 percent of white males nationwide.
- In eighth grade, only 9 percent of black males across the country and 8 percent living in
large cities performed at or above the proficient level in reading, compared with
33 percent of white males nationwide. Math results were similar in both grades.
- In black male achievement in selected big city school districts, 50 percent of fourth and
eighth grade black males in most urban districts and nationwide scored below basic levels.
Baltimore belongs to the Council of Great City Schools and was recognized for its recent accomplishments Tuesday.
But this report brings us back down to earth in realizing that the achievement gap for poor, black students and their counterparts remains far too wide, and too many are still falling through the ever-growing cracks.