Breaking Barriers 3: Challenge the Status Quo, Academic Success Among School-Age African American Males

by Chance W. Lewis; Ivory A. Toldson

Sep 1, 2012

Part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Breaking Barriers series, the report shows how states, districts, and schools systematically deny opportunity for black males through policies and practices regarding curriculum offerings, teacher preparation and compensation, discipline, and special education. The report issues a call for action and legal justification for Public Reciprocity in Education for Postsecondary Success (PREPS).
  • Contrary to popular belief, black males are not underrepresented in colleges and universities; they comprise 5.5 percent of U.S. college students and 5 percent of population. By 2020, about 20 percent of black men over age 24 will hold a bachelor's degree.
  • African-American students disproportionately attend public schools that do not offer the math and science courses required for admittance to their state's flagship university. PREPS calls for states to take responsibility for providing these classes, on the grounds that the current state of affairs qualifies as disparate impact discrimination.
  • Within the 20 largest school districts in the country, schools with more black and Hispanic students have more novice teachers and lower teacher salaries, resulting in poorer teacher quality.
  • Students who are disengaged from school are far more likely to be suspended than those who have delinquent behavior patterns (for example, bringing drugs or weapons to school).
  • Many predominantly black schools implement chaotic and unfair disciplinary policies.
  • Black males are more likely than other races to be wrongly diagnosed as having or not having a disability, which may cause them to be placed in incompatible learning environments.