According to a recent report from the Schott Foundation for Public Education, the District continues to do a lousy job of educating black male students. Still, there are signs of racial progress—it’s also not doing so well educating white male students.
Graduation rates for both groups dropped for the 2007-2008 school year. The black male graduation rate went from 55 to 41 percent, and the white male from 84 to 57. Rates for both groups are below the national average.
WAMU reports that when it comes to the black male rate, there may be a reason why it’s dropping.
Researcher Michael Holzman tells WAMU:
“More than twice as many on average black males get out of school suspensions compared to white males, and way more are expelled in D.C. And in either of those cases that’s pretty much the end of their education.”
A twist in the story is that the District is actually doing better than most at not forcing out black male students. The number of black males suspended or expelled from District schools “was low by national standards,” the study says. Still, in the 2006-2007 school year, black males were three to four times more likely to be bounced from a school than their white counterparts.
D.C. Public Schools spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway says DCPS doesn’t usually break graduation data down by race and gender. As far as the city’s graduation rate goes, in general, though, “Ours has gone up in the 2008/2009 school year.”
A DCPS press release says that in 2009, District public schools graduated 168 more black students than in the previous year. If that’s true, District graduation rates for females could be trending up, while the rate for males trends down.
A recent Atlantic Monthly article reports such gender gaps may be part of a larger societal shift:
Women dominate today’s colleges and professional schools—for every two men who will receive a B.A. this year, three women will do the same. Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., all but two are occupied primarily by women. Indeed, the U.S. economy is in some ways becoming a kind of traveling sisterhood: upper-class women leave home and enter the workforce, creating domestic jobs for other women to fill.