The “Yes We Can” report released by the Schott Foundation for Public Education on Tuesday shows that Florida has one of the lowest graduation rates for black male students in the nation.

The rate in 2007-2008 was 37 percent, according to the report. The data, which comes from the National Center for Education Statistics, indicates the national average is 47 percent.

According to the report, “the Benchmark for graduation rates of Black Male students for school districts enrolling more than 10,000 Black Male students is 75% (Newark, New Jersey).”

In the Broward County school district the graduation rate is 39 percent. Miami-Dade County stands at 27 percent, Duval County 23 percent, Hillsborough County 35 percent, Orange County 33 percent, Palm Beach County 22 percent, Pinellas County 21 percent and Polk County 29 percent. These numbers show that Miami-Dade, Duval, Palm Beach and Pinellas school districts are among the 10 lowest performing school districts for black males.

The rate of out-of-school suspensions for all these Florida school districts was higher for black male students when compared with white non-Latino students.

Jack J. Johnson, president of the Schott Foundation writes in the reports preface,


Yes We Can, The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, starkly illustrates that only 47% of Black males graduate from high school—far short of the trajectory and post-secondary credentials needed for our nation to be globally competitive by 2020. It indicates that systemic disparities evident by race, social class, or zip code are influenced more by the social policies and practices that WE put in place to distribute educational opportunities and resources and less by the abilities of Black males.

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