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#4 on the Top Ten List: Black Males at HBCUs

In her new blog as Public Editor for the National Education Writers Association, The Educated Reporter, Linda Perlstein wrote a Top Ten list of education stories of 2009. (Okay, I'm a little tardy reporting this.). But this article by AP higher education writer Justin Pope is worth repeating.

An Associated Press analysis of government data on the 83 federally designated four-year HBCUs shows just 37 percent of their Black students finish a degree within six years. That's 4 percentage points lower than the national college graduation rate for Black students. One major reason: the struggles of Black men. Just 29 percent of HBCU males complete a bachelor's degree within six years, the AP found. A few HBCUs, like Howard University and all-female Spelman College, have much higher graduation rates, exceeding the national averages for both Black and White students. But others are clustered among the worst-performing colleges in the country. At 38 HBCUs, fewer than one in four men who started in 2001 had completed a bachelor's degree by 2007, the data show. At Texas Southern University, Voorhees College, Edward Waters College and Miles College, the figure was under 10 percent.

Think about that: 29 percent. Does that mean the "boy troubles" are only about minority males, as some claim? With twice as many black women as men earning degrees -- and with many colleges showing a better graduation rate for black women than white males -- it shows just the opposite: this is as much about gender as race.

Crude accountability measures such as No Child Left Behind, which isolate minority and low-income students for independent accountability, miss half the problem, the half that involves gender. Something's amiss with the guys.

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