New Study Shows Achievement Gap Persists

A study released yesterday from the Council of the Great City Schools, an organization representing 66 of the nation’s large urban public school districts,  reports that the achievement gap in education may be wider than has been acknowledged. “A Call for Change: The Social and Educational Factors Contributing to the Outcomes of Black Males in Urban Schools” (pdf) looked at the differences between black and white students’ academic and social achievement and concludes that young black males in America are in a state of crisis, performing lower than their peers on almost every indicator. The study examined African-American males’  readiness to learn, National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) scores, college and career preparedness, school experience, and post-secondary experience. Findings include:

·Black children were twice as likely to live in a household where no parent had full-time or year-round employment in 2008. And in 2007, one out of every three black children lived in poverty compared with one out of every 10 white children.

· On the 2009 fourth grade NAEP reading assessment, only 12% of black male students nationally and 11% of those living in large central cities performed at or above proficient levels, compared with 38% of white males nationwide. The average African-American fourth and eighth grade male who is not poor does no better in reading and math on NAEP than white males who are poor.

· Black males were nearly twice as likely to drop out of high school as white males. Black male students nationally scored an average 104 points lower than white males on the SAT college entrance examination in reading.

· Black students were less likely to participate in academic clubs, more likely to be suspended from school, and more likely to be retained in grade than their white peers.

· The unemployment rate among black males ages 20 and over (17.3%) was twice as high as the unemployment rate among white males of the same age (8.6%) earlier this year. In 2008, black males ages 18 and over accounted for 5% of the college population, while black males accounted for 36%of the nation’s prison population.

The Council would like the White House to convene a conference where a comprehensive plan of action could be established.

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