Unemployed, Incarcerated, or Dead, Take Your Pick

A new College Board study says that almost 50 percent of minority high school male graduates face daunting futures.

Posted: 06/21/2011 01:41 PM EDT
Filed Under education

Unemployed, Incarcerated, or Dead, Take Your Pick

Almost half of high school male graduates of color between the ages of 15 and 24 will end up unemployed, incarcerated or dead, according to a new study.

The study, The Educational Experience of Young Men of Color: A Review of Research, Pathways and Progress and Capturing the Student Voice, was released by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center on Monday.

Starting in 2010, the College Board partnered with the Business Innovation Factory to explore the higher-education experiences of African-American, Asian-American/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino and Native American students from 39 institutions. Over the course of six-months, the researchers interviewed 92 students and captured their stories through video storytelling. Through questions surrounding themes of the “pressures of life,” “pathways to completion” and “webs of support,” the organizations questioned how the minority male students got in and through college.

The results showed that the “current educational pipeline is simply not designed to support an increased number of minority males earning college degrees.” Yet, most of the young men interviewed are succeeding, despite their odds, by “adapting the system to their needs.”

Some of the odds the students faced included having the sole or dominant responsibility to support their families, making ends meet financially, avoiding alcohol and drug problems, dealing with stereotypes and overcoming difficult home or community situations. In addition to their trials, the students were “working to succeed in their classes.”

Monday, the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center and Harvard University’s W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research hosted a webcast to discuss the findings. Actor and activist Hill Harper and Estela Mara Bensimon, co-director for the Center for Urban Education, were just a few of participants. Henry Alphonse, Fletcher University professor and director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute were also in attendance.   


(Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)