Debunking Education Myths About Blacks
Show Me the Numbers: Our series with the Journal of Negro Education shows that the news isn't all bad.
The idea that black males are completely disaffected and beyond any reasonable efforts to remediate is an attitude that I frequently encounter when I train school leaders and educational administrators. In my opinion, the cynicism and apathy among people who work with black boys are far more threatening to our future than the black male issues so ominously dramatized by the media.
Numbers Worth Repeating: Let's Reach 20 Percent by 2020
So far we have learned that black males' representation in college is proportional to their representation in the general population, yet the attainment of four-year college degrees among adult black males is only 16 percent. Meanwhile, 20 percent of black females and 32 percent of white males have completed college.
Source: Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D.
However, there is a silver lining. Every decade, the number and percentage of black men who earn a college degree increases. In 1990 the proportion of black males over age 25 who had completed college was 11.1 percent. By year 2000 it was 13.2 percent, and by 2010, 15.8 percent had completed college (Ruggles et al).
Where will we be in 2020? If we round the percentages of past decades to 11, 13 and 16 respectively and then apply simple trend logic to the pattern (+2 percentage points between 1990 and 2000, and +3 percentage points between 2000 and 2010), could we be at be +4, or 20 percent, by 2020?
Another way to predict where we'll be by 2020 would be to take the average percent increase or decrease over the past 50 years and add to the 2010 figure, which would yield 19 percent by 2020. Whatever the method, the trends clearly show that by the year 2020, about 1 in 5 black men in the U.S. over the age of 24 could have at least a bachelor's degree from a four-year college or university.