Louisiana ranks 43rd in the United States for black male high school graduation rates, according to a new report by the Schott Foundation for Public Education. In 2012-13, 53 percent of Louisiana black male students completed high school in four years, compared to the national average of 59 percent.
However, the gap between black and white males in Louisiana was smaller than the national norm. In four years, 69 percent of white Louisiana males graduated, making for a 16-point difference. The national gap was 21 points: 80 percent for white males, 59 percent for black males.
Latino males in Louisiana beat the national average: 70 percent of them graduated in four years, compared to 65 percent nationally.
Nebraska had the greatest gap between black and white graduation rates, 36 points, followed by Wisconsin, 35 points. Black male students bettered the white male graduation rate in three states: Arizona, Hawaii and Maine.
|Four-year high school graduation rates, 2012-13|
|Place||Black males||Latino males||White males||Black/white gap||Latino/white gap|
|U.S.||59%||65%||80%||21 points||15 points|
|Louisiana||53%||70%||69%||16 points||-1 point|
|Source: Schott Foundation.|
The report was released Tuesday (Feb. 10).
Researchers also looked at graduation rates from public school systems that enroll 10,000 or more black male students. This information came from the previous year, 2011-12.
In the two Louisiana systems tracked, the overall graduation rate of black males lagged their white peers by single digits. In Jefferson Parish, 50 percent graduated high school in four years compared to 56 percent of their white peers, a 6-point gap. In East Baton Rouge, rates for both races were below 45 percent, with white boys 2 points ahead.
The researchers did not provide national or state data for that year.
|Four-year high school graduation rates, 2011-12|
|System||Black males||White males||Black/white gap|
|Jefferson Parish||50%||56%||6 points|
|East Baton Rouge Parish||42%||44%||2 points|
|Source: Schott Foundation.
On other academic measures, too, black males lagged whites in Louisiana. Their proficiency rates were 19 points lower on a national 8th-grade math test and 20 percent lower on 8th-grade reading.
Schott President John Jackson called the academic opportunity gap “unconscionable.” He said the results provide “clear evidence of a systemic problem impacting black males rather than a problem with black males.”
Recalling the 2014 public focus on the deaths of young black men at the hands of police, including protests that use the slogan, “Black Lives Matter,” he said, “While most will say black lives matter and are important, the four-year graduation results in this report indicate that most states and localities operate at best, and have created at worst, climates that often don’t foster healthy living and learning environments for black males.”
The research was conducted by New York University for the foundation. Its funders include the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, Heinz Endowments and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.