Minority Male Plight Demands Broad U.S. Action, College Board Says

WASHINGTON — A College Board report highlighting the “overwhelming barriers” U.S. minority males confront in becoming educated and productive citizens recommends national strategies aimed at erasing “the disparities in educational attainment” and demonstrating “new ways of reaching the increasingly diverse U.S. student population.” 

During a program co-hosted by the Congressional Tri Caucus at the U.S. Capitol, College Board officials on Tuesday released “The Educational Crisis Facing Young Men of Color,” a 42-page report that was produced by the board’s Advocacy and Policy Center. The report’s summaries, data and recommendations resulted from a series of meetings, known as “Dialogue Days,” that were convened in 2008 to explore secondary and postsecondary achievement among African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American and Pacific Islander, and Native American males.

“The report we’re unveiling today and the speakers you will hear in a moment will detail the plight of these young men. They will paint a portrait of young men who are so far removed from our opportunity culture that they almost have no hope of contributing to our social and our economic growth,” said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board. “As a result, they live in despair, hopelessness and too often violence and incarceration. We can continue to ignore the plight of these young men, but we do so at our own peril.”

Data in the report outlines a detailed picture of lagging educational attainment by minority males in comparison with minority women and Whites. Statistics featured in the report touches briefly on incarceration rates and violence while largely revealing minority male lags in educational attainment. The report mentioned that “African-American males are almost half the inmate population and Hispanics constitute 20 percent” of that population. In addition, the report says young Black men are five times more likely to be murdered as Whites. Among Asian-Americans, the data trends were disaggregated to report that the most vulnerable population are the males of Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander descent in comparison with those of Northeast Asian descent.

Congressman Ra?l M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., told the report release audience that the negative movement among minority males away from educational attainment and toward increased incarceration coincides with the growth of racial diversity in the U.S. population. “We went through the litany of incarceration of minority males and the litany of educational failure” in the report and in our speeches, he said. 

“And it comes at the time when the face of America is changing; when the hues, the tones, and the colors of this nation’s face are changing so that population merits more attention now because of that demographic shift,” Grijalva said.    

Grijalva, along with Congressman Danny Davis, D-Ill., and Congressman Mike Honda, D-Calif., attended the College Board event as congressional members representing the Congressional Tri Caucus. The Congressional Tri Caucus comprises of members from the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.  

The report’s recommendations were that:

  • The federal government, foundation and concerned organizations convene a national policy discussion on the issue of minority male achievement
  • The federal government, foundations, and civic organizations should fund research to clarify issues that could have an impact on minority male achievement
  • K-12 schools, colleges, universities and state higher education agencies should develop partnerships to help minority males gain preparation and succeed in college
  • States, the federal government and foundations should identify and scale up funding for the most successful programs that have helped minority males achieve educationally

Other participants in the College Board event were Dr. Sidney Ribeau, president of Howard University; Dr. Roy Jones, project director of the Call Me MISTER program; Dr. Luis Ponjuan of the University of Florida; and Dr. Ronald Williams, vice president of the College Board.