Few would deny that the overall academic achievement and career readiness for African American students is a serious concern for our community. Statistics regarding African American students academic performance and matriculation into higher education reveal alarming findings.
- NAEP data from 2015 indicates that, African American students lag behind other racial groups. For African American children in Georgia, 36% performed below the basic level, 45% scored at the basic level, 18% at the proficient level, and 1% at the advanced level (US DOE 2015).
- In 2013, 61% of fourth graders and 71% of eighth graders in Georgia demonstrated mathematics skills at or below the basic level on the NAEP .
- Only 34% of Georgia’s third graders read at grade level by the end of third grade.
- Students who qualify for free or reduced priced school meals scored 25 points lower on the NAEP than their higher income peers.
- The academic achievement gap is also evident in 12th grade with disparities in reading and math scores between white and black students totaling 30 points (Lee, 2014).
- Data reveals that African-American students make up less than 16% of the K-12 student population but they make up 40% of the students attending schools with low graduation rates (Camera, 2015).
- In 2012-13, the national graduation rate for black males was 59%, 65% for Latinos, and 80% for white males (Schott Foundation, 2016).
- The low number of African American students completing high school and entering college is a threat to our workforce.
- By 2020, 75% of all jobs in the United States will require some type of post-secondary education.
We are all aware of the dire statistics that paint many schools as ineffective at best in educating our children and overcoming the academic challenges they face. However, the question becomes, what are we going to do to help our children?