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Reports: Alarming Facts Regarding Academic Experience for Young Men of Color

WI Staff Report | 6/20/2011, 12:12 p.m.

Nearly half of young men of color -- ages 15 to 24 - who graduate from high school will end up unemployed, incarcerated or dead, according to several jarring statistics highlighted in two new reports released on June 20 by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center.

The reports, "The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color: A Review of Research, Pathways and Progress" and "Capturing the Student Voice" are especially relevant given the need for the young men to attain post secondary degrees if the nation's economy is to thrive and compete globally, according to the Center's findings.

"At a time when our nation is committed to reclaiming its place as the world leader in higher education, we can no longer afford to ignore the plight of our young men of color," College Board President Gaston Caperton said. "As long as educational opportunities are limited for some, we all suffer. We rise as one nation and we fall as one nation. But if we keep working hard -- if we keep listening to each other and to our students -- we can soften our landings and reach historic new heights."

The reports provide comprehensive data, research findings and recommendations to improve the educational experiences and pathways of young men of color. They also seek to give a balanced view of the educational issues that exist for young men of color across four minority groups -- African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinos and Native Americans -- throughout the K-20 pipeline.

According to the reports' findings, just 26 percent of African Americans, 18 percent of Hispanic Americans, and 24 percent of Native Americans and Pacific Islanders have at least an associate degree.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, said the reports shed light on what everyone has known all along - that while access to education in this country is a right, it is not enjoyed among children in equal measure.

"But the devastating numbers and the sobering statistics are a call to action through the recommendations outlined in this innovative report,," Gates said. "Only with genuine and profound educational reform can we create equal opportunities for young men of color and indeed for all Americans."