Only 43.6% of black males in Louisiana graduate from high school
A four-year study of high school graduation rates, titled Diplomas Count: An Essential Guide to Graduation Policy and Rates, found that only 43.6 percent of black males in Louisiana graduate from high school. While the number is dismal, it is not a problem unique to Louisiana. Nationally, only 44.3 percent of black males graduate, according to the study released recently by the Education Projects in Education Research Center and funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The statistics are harsh in a state where students in poverty are twice as likely to be held back, and blacks are held back at a rate of 15 percent - twice that of whites, according to state data.
Most black males entering ninth grade this year will never see a graduation stage.
By the time they reach high school, many have been held back and are discouraged from continuing their education.
"School is not teaching what we need to survive the streets," Shawn said. "You have problems in your life, and you try to deal with what is important."
Many wonder about what is happening to those black males who have checked out of school.
"What about the 57 percent who don't graduate?" asked state Sen. Don Cravins, D-Opelousas.
Having male role models in the classroom can help those who do not have fathers at home, he said.
"You emulate what looks like you," Cravins said. "They need to have men who say to them, 'It is OK to be smart, to have manners, to tip your hat, and not to drape your pants on your (butt) and to be a man."
Females of all races graduate at higher rates than their male counterparts, the survey found.
But Megon Jones, 24, was not one of those who did.
"I regret it," said Megon, who is taking adult education classes offered by the Lafayette Parish School District. "I saw friends that I went to school with graduating, and in a way, it was embarrassing. You see the friends you grew up with, and they have a job now."
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