Thursday, August 06, 2020


Article Index

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.

Vernellia R. Randall
Founder and Editor
Professor Emerita of Law
The University of Dayton School of Law