African-American Male Dropouts

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African-American Male Dropouts

African-American Male Dropouts


To drop out of secondary school (middle and high school levels) decreases the chance of success and may create dependence on social services. The combined effect costs the United States approximately $250 billion to replace lost wages and tax revenues and provide social welfare services. The typical time to drop out of school is between the 10th and 12th grades, given that most states require compulsory school attendance up to age 16. The literature reports that secondary school dropouts were more likely to use drugs and alcohol and engage in violent and criminal behaviors than non-dropout adolescents. Today, dropouts comprise 85% of juvenile justice cases and 50% to 82% of prison populations throughout the United States. An approximate 55% of dropouts are unemployed and dependent upon social welfare. Employed dropouts, especially individuals with disabilities, earn low wages. The literature reports depression, alienation, health problems, and familial disengagement as indicators of African -American dropouts (Gallagher, 2002).

Between 347,000 and 544,000 secondary school students dropped out of school within the last decade. The average dropout rate is from 7% to 16% per year. Extrapolating special education dropout counts increases the rate, since these students drop out of school at rates that range from 17% to 42%. Students with emotional-behavioral disabilities drop out of school at rates that range from 21% to 64%. If included in dropout counts, expelled students forced to leave school (“push outs”) would increase the prevalence rate (Prevatt, 2003).

Discussion and Analysis

The prevalence of dropouts is greatest among minorities. The nation's largest minority population, comprise the highest dropout rate of any minority group. Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, and Tennessee reported that less than half of their population graduated from secondary school. African Americans comprise the second highest minority dropout rate. Georgia, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Wisconsin reported that less than half of their African American populations graduated from secondary school. Overall, Georgia's total graduation rate (57%) is the lowest in the nation (Scanlon, 2002).

This research assesses the educational attainment of African American males between the 1990s and early 2000s. Beginning with a abstract of a 1987-88 study undertook by the author on African American males, national data are provided on the high school graduation rates of African American males and females, as well as tendencies in their enrollment and degree completion at the undergraduate, graduate and first-professional levels. The data show a increasing educational disparity between African American men in all higher learning institutions, but furthermore in public and private historic black high school dropouts. The author offers recommendations to advance the performance, enrollment and graduation rates of African American males in order to close the current high school gender gap (Scanlon, 2002).

Since the mid-1980s, the educational performance and progression of African American boys and men have received an extensive amount of local and national attention. The primary reason for this group being singled out was due to the fact that on most local and national measures of academic achievement, ...
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