Only 47 percent of black male students earned a high school diploma on schedule in 2008, reports the Schott Foundation. In New York, 25 percent of black males earned a Regents diploma on time.
New Jersey, with a 69 percent black male graduation rate, is the only state with a significant black population to top 65 percent. Maryland came second at 55 percent with California third at 54 percent and Pennsylvania close behind at 53 percent.
Not known for educational excellence, Newark had the highest black male graduation rate of any major city, notes Jay Mathews.
In Newark, the graduation rate for black males was 76 percent. The other school districts nearest that level were Fort Bend, Tex. (68 percent), Baltimore County, Md. (67 percent) and Montgomery County, Md. (65 percent). The list only included states with more than 100,000 black male students and districts with more than 10,000 black male students.
New Jersey’s data is self-reported by schools and may be inflated, Mathews warns. In addition, the state lets schools graduate some students who haven’t passed the state graduation exam. One way to raise graduation rates is to lower standards.
Black female students, who face different social pressures, do much better than their brothers.