In 2009-10 the national graduation rate for Black male students was 52%. The graduation rate for White, non-Latino males was 78%. This is the first year that more than half of the nation’s Black males in 9th grade graduated with regular diplomas four years later. The national Black/White male graduation gap, however, only decreased by 3 percentage points over nearly the last decade to 26 percentage points.
As Table 2 indicates, states with conspicuously large gaps between their graduation rates for Black and White, non-Latino male students include the District of Columbia (50%), Iowa (49%), Nebraska (43%) and New York (42%). As in previous years, states with relatively small Black populations achieve high graduation rates for Black male students (Maine, Utah, Vermont, Idaho). This seems to indicate that Black males, on average, perform better in places and spaces where they are not relegated to under-resourced districts or schools. When provided similar opportunities they are more likely to produce similar or better outcomes as their White male peers.
On average, states with low graduation rates for Black male students (New York, Nebraska, South Carolina, Delaware, Illinois, Florida) tend to have concentrations of those students in under-resourced districts (New York City, Charleston, Duval County, FL and Chicago) where both Black and White male students perform poorly. Many states like Arizona, Vermont and Oklahoma with above average Black male graduation rates also have smaller than average gaps between the graduation rates of Black male and White, non-Latino males.
Among the 10 states with the largest Black enrollments, we find that North Carolina, Maryland and California have the highest graduation rates for Black male students, while New York, Illinois and Florida have the lowest. New York and Illinois have the largest gaps among the large Black enrollment states, while North Carolina, Florida and Georgia have the smallest.
Several states have poor graduation outcomes for both Black and Latino males. Vermont, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska are all ranked in the top 10 in graduation rates for both Black and Latino males. New York, Georgia, South Carolina, Delaware and the District of Columbia all rank in the bottom 10 in graduation rates for both Black and Latino males. These bottom-ranking states are the first group of states where reform agendas should be investigated, revamped and monitored.
When we compare graduation rates and the gap in graduation rates between Black male and White non-Latino male students by state, arranged by total Black male enrollment, we find that North Carolina, Maryland and California have the highest graduation rate for Black male students among the ten states with the largest Black enrollments, while New York, Illinois and Florida have the lowest. (See Table 9, Appendix A.) New York and Illinois have the largest gaps among these states, while North Carolina, Florida and Georgia have the smallest.
Graduation rates are calculated as the percentage of the students enrolled in ninth grade receiving diplomas four years later. Graduation rates use the number of graduates obtained from state data, estimated from state data and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data, or estimated from historical data trends.