DETROIT (AP) _ Michigan is the worst in the nation when it comes to graduating black male students from high school, and Detroit Public Schools has the second-lowest rate for big-city school districts, according to a national report.
Michigan graduates 33 percent of black males compared with 74 percent of white males, according to a report issued Friday by the Schott Foundation for Public Education.
Florida ranks fifth worst in the nation, with 38 percent of black males graduating on time, compared to 60 percent of white males, according to the report.
Detroit Public Schools graduates 20 percent of black males and 17 percent of white males, according to the report “Given Half a Chance: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males.''
“The low numbers of black, Latino and Native-American males who graduate from high school is a major concern,'' state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan told The Detroit News for a Saturday story. “It's obvious that the way we've been trying to educate these students is not working, and we have to look at other ways to reach them.''
He said Gov. Jennifer Granholm's small high school initiative will help build greater relevance and relationships with schools and students.
“We have confidence this, combined with a more challenging curriculum required by our new graduation requirements, will help make a difference,'' Flanagan said.
The foundation's study, released during a national conference of minority journalism organizations in Chicago, used 2005-06 data from the U. S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and Office for Civil Rights, which was the most recent available. It also used data from state departments of education and local school districts.
The numbers were no surprise to Detroit school officials, who are working to reinvent some of the worst-performing high schools in the district.
“The numbers would not shock anyone who has looked at our school-by-school data reports … that show that the student success rate at most of our comprehensive high schools to be unacceptably low,'' district spokesman Steve Wasko told the Detroit Free Press for a Saturday story.
Detroit's low numbers have more to do with an inequality of resources rather than race, said John H. Jackson, president and CEO of the Cambridge, Mass.-based Schott Foundation for Public Education.
“Where there are groups of segregated black males in schools where they are less likely to have access to highly effective teachers, less likely to have access to early childhood education and a college-bound curriculum, the rates are very poor,'' he said.
Students placed in schools where they have the proper resources can meet benchmarks, Jackson said, adding that performance also is low among white students who are placed in schools lacking resources.
Nationally, 47 percent of black male students and 75 percent of white male students graduated on time.
North Dakota led the nation with an 89 percent graduation rate among black males, according to the report.
The More You Know:
Michigan's rate of graduating black male students from high school in the 2005-06 school year was lowest in the nation, according to a national report. How Michigan compared with other lowest-performing states:
_ Michigan, 33 percent (white males, 74 percent).
_ Wisconsin, 36 percent (white males, 87 percent).
_ South Carolina, 38 percent (white males, 59 percent).
_ Louisiana, 38 percent (white males, 60 percent).
_ Florida, 38 percent (white males, 60 percent).
_ New York, 39 percent (white males, 75 percent).
_ Nevada, 40 percent (white males, 55 percent).
_ Illinois, 40 percent (white males, 82 percent).
_ Georgia, 40 percent (white males, 58 percent).
_ Wyoming, 41 percent (white males, 72 percent).
_ national average, 47 percent (white males, 75 percent).
Source: Schott Foundation for Public Education
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