Report: Outlook bleak for young men of color

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A report by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center paints a bleak picture of the state of young Black males in America.

According to the report, nearly half of the U.S. men of color now between the ages of 15 and 24, who graduate from high school, will end up jobless, in jail or prematurely dead.

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This jarring statistic is just one of many highlighted in one of two new reports released June 20 by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center at an event held in collaboration with the Harvard University’s W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research in Cambridge, Mass. The report, The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color: A Review of Research, Pathways and Progress, is especially relevant given the need for these young men to attain postsecondary degrees if the nation’s economy is to thrive and compete globally.

“At a time when our nation is committed to reclaiming its place as the world leader in higher education, we can no longer afford to ignore the plight of our young men of color,” said Gaston Caperton, College Board President. “As long as educational opportunities are limited for some, we all suffer. We rise as one nation and we fall as one nation. But if we keep working hard — if we keep listening to each other and to our students — we can soften our landings and reach historic new heights.”

The report detailed challenges facing young men of color in classroom achievement. The barriers to success for African-American males include under-representation in programs for gifted students, a high absenteeism and dropout rate, poor teacher-student relationships and lack of parental support.

The report also noted the changing racial landscape of America and that minorities will soon be the majority in the country. It says for America to maintain its position as a global leader, ways to more effectively educate its young men of color must be developed.

“The goal of ensuring the future global competitiveness of the United States cannot be met without the participation of all its citizens,” the report stated. “Reaching our college attainment goal will require significant participation and contributions by all racial/ethnic groups.”

In that vein, to meet the goal of an additional 13.4 million college degrees by 2020, the United States must produce 3.3 million degrees more from Latinos, 1.9 million more from African-Americans and 800,000 more from Asian Americans.

The report called for more mentoring opportunities, school reform, and professional development for teachers, together with culturally appropriate retention programs, and more research on ways to improve teaching methods.

(Reprinted from the Afro-American)

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