East Georgia State College and the African American Male Initiative (AAMI) Program were honored to receive a presentation from Dr. Saba Jallow, Associate Professor of Political Science at Georgia Southern University. Dr. Jallow, the Director of the Center for Africana Studies at GSU for 25 years was on campus February 17. He is originally from Gambia West Africa, but earned his Ph.D. from West Virginia University. He addressed the AAMI students on the topic, Empowering African-American males to graduate from High School and College: Challenges and Possibilities. In his presentation he shared some astounding statistics about African American males and the enrollment and graduation rates national and locally:
The American Council on Education (ACE) shows that only 32% of white males hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher, 16% Black males, and 12% Latinos.
Louisiana and Alabama had the lowest rates of Black males who took AP exams at a rate of 3%.
In fall 2014 there were 21 million students attending college and universities of which the majority are females. Forty-nine million student s were in elementary and secondary education, of which 24.8 million were White, 7.8 million Black, 12.8 million Hispanic, 2.6 million Asian/Pacific Islander and 0.5 American Indian/Alaskan Native students.
The large local districts with enrollment of 10,000 or more Black males with the lowest Black male graduation rates were Detroit with 20%; Clark County, Nevada with 22% Philadelphia with 24%, Richmond County, Georgia with 27& and New York City with 28%.
In Georgia, the graduation rate was 55% for black males and 71% for white males which is a 16% gap.
Large local districts that enroll more than 10,000 students with the highest graduation rates for black males in 2011-2012 were Montgomery County, Maryland with 74%. Cumberland County, North Carolina with 68%. Baltimore, Maryland 67% and Guildford County, North Carolina 67%.
He identified reasons for the black male disparities in graduation rates:
Black students across the country suspended at least twice more often than their peers and very likely to be expelled from school.
Among the 50 urban districts, Chatham County in Georgia and Memphis had the highest expulsion rates at 5%.
Florida was number one in the nation of out of school suspension for black males at 24% and 9% for white males.
He concluded with telling the EGSC administrators, faculty, staff, and students that students must be motivated intrinsically and have a desire for education to stay in school and graduate from college. Furthermore, he supports that the education of black males is an American problem, not only a Black problem. The future competitive edge of this country depends on providing a quality education for all as minorities become the majorities in school districts around the country.
Martise Harris who serves as a peer leader the AAMI Program commented on the presentation saying, “Dr. Saba Jallow did a great job organizing the data and putting things into perspective. As a result of knowing these statistics, I believe it is our duty to continue to improve our communities and increase the awareness of how important it is for African American males to graduate from college and become leaders.” Lucas Frink, also a peer leader, adds “Based on the statistics that Dr. Saba Jallow presented, we realize that in this day and age, competitiveness is a student’s most valuable asset. It is necessary for us to dedicate our time and energy into obtaining as much relevant information as possible to make great economic decisions that will lead our generation into a successful future.”
President Boehmer thanked Dr. Jallow and concluded the meeting by emphasizing the importance of completing college in order to meet the needs of the workforce, not only in Georgia but also on the national front. He stated, “In the next 10 years, Georgia will need 250,000 more college graduates than we currently have in order to remain competitive. The young men participating in the AAMI program have the opportunity to help bridge the gap in what is needed in the marketplace and what we now have. ”
Ms. Deborah Kittrell-Mikell serves as Director for AAMI Swainsboro campus and Mr. Antre’ Drummer serves as Director for the Statesboro campus.