In a collaborative effort with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Howard University Professor Ivory Toldson and University of North Carolina Professor Chance W. Lewis aims to dispel the notion that African-American boys are underrepresented in institutions of higher learning. In the report, “Challenging the Status Quo”, it states that black males make up 5.5 percent of all college students age 18 and over, which is proportional to the adult black male population in the United States.
The report shows that the barriers that young black men face began way before even entering college. The lack of resources, such as advanced prep classes as well as new teachers entering the field of education, are all issues many students face in public middle and high schools. Also, black male students are also more likely to get suspended. The report show that 59 percent of black males reported they had been suspended or expelled from school, compared to 42 percent of Latino males, and 26 percent of white males.
“The idea that black males are completely disaffected and beyond any reasonable efforts to remediate is an attitude that we frequently encounter when we train school leaders and educational administrators,” argued the authors. “The cynicism and apathy among people who work with black boys are far more threatening to our future than the black male issues so ominously dramatized in the media.”
Although many black males can get into college, graduation is another issue. Only 16 percent of black men have obtained a college degree, compared to 20 percent of black women. The report not only broke down the statistics behind the education received by these students, but also offered solutions that could lead to the goal of increasing the graduation rates of black men by 2020:
- Provide mentorship and internship for first-generation students.
- Ensure that all high schools have a college-prep curriculum.
- Sponsor college tours.
- Support college programs for black young men.
- Advocate for Pell Grants and need-based funding for college students.
In challenging the idea that young black men don’t value an education, or don’t graduate from college, the researchers hope to deflate pre-existing stereotypes by 2020. Unlike the gang members mentioned in yesterday’s posts, there are black men who take their education seriously and those who try to make a difference in their everyday lives.