B. Dropout Rates
The dropout rate has marginally decreased for African-American males during the past 20 years; however, dropout rates of African-American males still remain high in comparison with white students. The dropout rate of African-American male students in high school is disproportionately higher than other groups of students. In some school districts the dropout rate for African-American males is higher than 50% and has reached an endemic problem facing African-American*18 male students. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2000 the dropout rate for African-Americans aged 14-24 years was 15.3% whereas the dropout rate for whites the same age was 12.2%. Practically every state reports that African-American students, particularly African-American males, disproportionately drop out of school.
There is no one reason why African-American males drop out of high school. Clearly, among the reasons has to be a curriculum that fails to motivate and stimulate African-American males in a way that they appreciate the immediate benefits of an education.
The strict enforcement of school policies on zero tolerance for various infractions has a direct correlation to African-American male students being expelled and/or suspended, which may encourage them to drop out of school permanently. Even more disheartening is that *19 some studies have suggested that the dropout rates of students have a correlation to incarceration rates.
The absence of African-American male teachers to inspire, motivate, and encourage African-American male students to remain in school may also have a negative impact on their desire to stay in school and graduate. Too often, the one or two African-American male teachers also serve as coaches and are primarily focused on the upcoming sport season, not the academic success of African-American males. Other African-American male teachers have simulated into the white culture, thus there is a disconnect between them and young urban African-American male students. With no support from home, school, or community, African-American male students may drop out and seek acceptance among other African-American male dropouts. The long term effect will be lower wages, longer periods of unemployment, underemployment, and positions without benefits or pensions.