The 2015 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males from the Schott Foundation for Public Education was recently published. The report offers
data about graduation rates, suspension rates, proficiency in reading and math,
and rates of enrollment in at least one Advanced Placement course. The report
argues that schools are not keeping adequate data, about both accomplishments
and failures, on Black students. School push-out is also a serious problem,
particularly in the form of suspension from school.
Louisiana is mentioned as having problematic data on page 22 of the report, in the section “Invisible Diplomas”:
Another example: Louisiana provides “College and Career” and “Career” Diplomas, both of which are counted as diplomas, without qualification, although the latter are not comparable to diplomas from other states. In some states, GEDs, which were rarely aligned to career or college standards or supports, were counted as part of graduation rates.
It goes on to say that “[t]he Schott Foundation advocates a standard that counts only those diplomas usually accepted by the state’s own postsecondary institutions without remedial requirements, and not factoring into the graduation calculations high school diploma equivalents, ‘career,’ ‘local’ or similar special diplomas.”
Louisiana is in the bottom ten states in Black male graduation rates: of the 2012-2013 cohort, 53% of Black male students graduated compared to 70% of Latino male and 69% of White male students.
Louisiana’s suspension rate is 12.9% for Black male students, compared to 7.8% for Latino males and 6.3% for White males.
For enrollment of Black male students in at least one Advanced Placement course, Louisiana is in the bottom five states. Of the 2011-2012 cohort, 2.6% of Black males were enrolled in at least one AP class compared to 5.1% of White males.
For reading proficiency, based on National Association of Educational Progress data, for states with little difference between Black and Latino performance and White performance, “a review of NAEP data makes it clear that in too many states narrow gaps are hardly indicative of progress, but rather the dramatically low scores for all their students — Black, Latino and White — indicate that all are being denied vital education resources. The worst states in this ‘lose-lose’ category for Grade 8 reading include Alabama, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.” In Louisiana, 9.3% of Black male students were proficient in reading, compared to 29.2% of White males.
Clearly, this situation demands action. The report explains partnerships that have formed to help students and schools. Particularly for reading and writing, we might mine our own organizational statements for ideas:
* Students’ Right to Their Own Language
* Resolution on the Need for Diverse Children’s and Young Adult Books
* Resolution on Mandatory Grade Retention and High-Stakes Testing
* Resolution on the Dignity and
Education of Immigrant, Undocumented, and Unaccompanied Youth
* Statement on Anti-Racism to Support Teaching and Learning
* Non-White Minorities in English and Language Arts Materials
* Expanding Opportunities: Academic Success for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students