College Board Finds Minority Men Continue to Lag Academically

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The New York Times
By: Lily Altavena
June 20, 2011

The College Board is releasing two reports today on the crisis facing young black and Latino men, who, the reports find, continue to be measurably less educated than minority women and white men.

According to the reports, 16 percent of Latino and 28 percent of African-American men ages 25 to 34 had obtained an associate's degree or higher as of 2008, while the comparable figure for white men was 44 percent and for Asian men, 70 percent.

The report also said that foreign-born members of those lagging minority groups were more likely to drop out than those born in the United States, especially in the case of Hispanics. While the total dropout rate for male Latinos is 20 percent, the foreign-born dropout rate is 14 percentage points higher.


"The Educational Experience of Young Men: A Review of Research, Pathways, and Progress" draws on statistics from the Census Bureau and other research documents, highlighting the need for change in the education sector. The report often compares the statistical success of men versus women. In almost every case, women are shown to have received more education.

The data about Asian/Pacific Islander men is particularly noteworthy. The authors cite the "model minority myth"-- the assumption that a minority group is the superior, or "model," group -- and then challenge it, emphasizing that Asian men face problems similar to those of other minorities.

Perhaps one of the most surprising statistics is that Asian male enrollment over the last two decades (1990-2008) dropped by 9 percentage points. In comparison, African-American enrollment increased by 15 percent, while Native American enrollment increased by over 120 percent. (The Times reported in February that there was a 30 percent increase in Chinese students, both male and female, studying in the United States.)

The research report is divided into six post-secondary pathways: enrollment in school, enrollment in the armed forces, participation in the work force, unemployment, incarceration and death. In the case of Hispanics, African-Americans, and Native Americans, more males ages 15 to 24 year with a high school diploma in 2008 were unemployed than enrolled in post-secondary education. In fact, 13 percent more Hispanic males were unemployed.

The second, smaller report shares firsthand stories from minority men. One African-American student currently enrolled as a freshman in a public university seems jaded about the process. The authors write: "He remembers that all through school people told him to get good grades so he could succeed and go to college, but senior year he realized it was all about money and affordability." Money is cited as one of the biggest roadblocks to gaining an education, along with social stigma and lowered aspirations.

The report sets a goal of raising the overall percentage of 25-to-34-year-olds with an associate's degree or higher from nearly 42 percent, where it is now, to 55 percent by 2025.

"This goal cannot be accomplished without a strong emphasis on closing the college-completion gaps that exist for minorities in America," the researchers write.

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