African American high school students want to go to
college as much as White students, but they tend not to be as well
prepared, according to statistics gathered by the Frederick D.
Patterson Research Institute of The College Fund/UNCF.
The statistics are part of a compilation of data that make up the
third and final volume of the African American Education Data Book. The
first book compiled statistics on higher education, the second on
pre-school through high school and the third focuses on the transition
from school to college and school to work.
The books, supervised by Dr. Michael Nettles of the University of
Michigan, represent the only comprehensive collection of all the
available data on the education of African Americans from such sources
as The College Board, the National Educational Longitudinal Study of
1988 Eighth Graders, and the Defense Manpower Data Center.
According to the data compiled, 69.9 percent of African American and
68.9 percent of White high school sophomores in 1990 expected to earn
at least a bachelor’s degree. This represents a huge leap from 1980,
when only 35.2 percent of African American and 40.6 percent of White
students had college degrees as a stated goal.
However, during the same period of time, only 78 percent of African
American students completed high school on time, compared to 90.5
percent of White students. And African American men had an even harder
time than women completing high school on time – 76.3 percent, compared
to 81.0 percent for women.
“High aspirations are desirable, of course,” said Nettles in a press
release accompanying the report. “But aspirations alone are not enough.
There has to be academic effort and achievement.”
Significantly, on-time graduation rates of African American and
White students enrolled in academic programs were comparable – 95.3
percent, compared to 97.8 percent for White students. African American
students enrolled in vocational and other non-academic curricular
programs, however, fell behind in on-time graduation rates – 73
percent, compared to 89.4 percent for White students.
During the time period studied – from 1980 to 1990 – the number of
African Americans in academic high school programs increased, from 37.8
percent in 1980 to 59 percent in 1990. But the increase was much more
marked for White students. In 1980, 45.5 percent of White students were
in academic programs; 68.5 percent in 1990.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Cox, Matthews & Associates
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