Schott Foundation: Yes We Can: The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males

Kyle Kennedy

Yes We Can: The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males (Cambridge, MA: The Schott Foundation, August 2010)

What if, instead of our current high-school graduation rate of 71 percent, the U.S. actually faced a rate of 47 percent? According to this report, that’s the situation for black males. In more than a few places, more black males enter prison than graduate from high school. In bottom-of-the-barrel New York State, their graduation rate is 25 percent. The report lays the blame on numerous doorsteps: Black males are punished more severely for the same infractions and more likely to be misclassified as needing special education. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The report illustrates with Newark, where due to a large influx of Abbott dollars, the graduation rate gap between white and black boys has closed significantly since 2001-02. The report implies that more money is what makes the difference, yet more resources, badly used, would hardly solve the problem. Still, this report reveals documents a large problem and reminds us of an important challenge for education policy and practice, with implications, of course, that go far beyond education.

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