Fact Sheet: Outcomes for Young, Black Men

By Tamika Thompson

Behind every fact is a face. Behind every statistic is a story. Behind every catch phrase is a young person whose future will be lost if something is not done immediately to change his or her reality. And when it comes to young, African American men, the numbers are staggering and the reality is sobering.

Young Black men — across the board — score below their counterparts in other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to graduation rates, literacy rates and college preparedness. And many African American men, in turn, are virtually locked out of employment and are filling up the nation’s prisons in disproportionate numbers.

Below we’ve highlighted some of the stats that show the impact that structural inequality has had on Black men and boys in America. We have also embedded documents that allow you to explore in detail the outcomes for young Black men in this country, including a compelling report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation that emphasizes the connection between early childhood literacy and dropout rates, a look at the achievement gaps between Black and white public school students from the Department of Education and a summary report from the newly created African American Male Achievement Task Force in the Oakland Unified School District.

Read, explore, share your thoughts below and tune in to “Too Important to Fail” on Tuesday, September 13.

–  54% of African Americans graduate from high school, compared to more than three quarters of white
and Asian students.

–  Nationally, African American male students in grades K-12 were nearly 2½ times as likely to be suspended from school in 2000 as white students.

–  In 2007, nearly 6.2 million young people were high school dropouts. Every student who does not complete high school costs our society an estimated $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity.

–  On average, African American twelfth-grade students read at the same level as white
eighth-grade students.

–  The twelfth-grade reading scores of African American males were significantly lower than
those for men and women across every other racial and ethnic group.

–  Only 14% of African American eighth graders score at or above the proficient level. These results reveal that millions of young people cannot understand or evaluate text, provide relevant details, or support inferences about the written documents they read.

–  The majority of the 2.3 million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails are people of
color, people with mental health issues and drug addiction, people with low levels of
educational attainment, and people with a history of unemployment or underemployment.

Sources (full reports can be found on the following Web sites): Alliance for Excellent EducationPenn Child Research Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, RAND Corporation, Oakland Unified School District, Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics.

Last modified: March 26, 2014 at 3:54 pm
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