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An Investigation into Educational Attainment, Research Paper Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1587

Research Paper

Introduction

This research is about finding out how African Americans value education. It investigated how far they have reached academically. A comparison between achievements of males and females through the ages of 17-35 was done. Education is viewed as a vehicle through which people can find a good job; earn a large salary and gain a certain status in society. It helps them to climb the social mobility ladder to improve their life chances. The author also examined how education impacts African American males and females to improve their access to social mobility.

Research Questions

This study was guided by seeking to answer four research questions asks if there is a difference in the high school graduation rates between black females and black males?

Importance of Topic

This topic is very important to me because in United States of America there are assumptions about how many black males attain higher education as against females. It be that African American males no longer value education. Also females might be taking education more seriously to graduate high school and move and move into higher learning.  How would affect their social mobility. I am really concerned and want to know because it is important.

There seems to be limited literature on this this subject. As such, conclusions drawn would likewise be limited to the literature reviewed. Since this is the case it presents a very good reason for conducting a study on this topic because eit world add new data to the body of knowledge.

II. Methodology

Description of Research

My hypothesis states that there seems to be significant differences between the high school graduation rates of African American (black) females and males which affect their social mobility as well as their life chances. Libraries were used to research concepts African American males/females; education; social mobility and life chances. African American males/females were cited an independent variables and education; social mobility and life chances dependent variables. This research was conducted using primary data from 6 school records of two years graduation listings showing the number of black females and males who graduated high school were obtained from six schools within the educational region.

My expectation was influence by the assumption that African Americans as black skinned people. It was also my opinion that education influences social mobility. It was startling to find out according to Shelby Steele’s (2001) that after six years of affirmative action there was still only a 20% high school graduation rate for blacks. These are the preconceptions I bring into this study.

III. Findings

A state report on public education and black males released by Schott Foundation stated that it would appear American educational system is unfriendly towards black male students. The report showed where there is an overall 47% high school graduation rate of African-American males.   In New York City, it is 28%, Philadelphia 28 %, Broward County Florida 39%, Washington D.C 44%, Chicago 44 % and Nashville 47 % (Holzman, 2012).

Further, it was confirmed that in 38 of 50 states across America black males scored lower on the high school graduation list when compared to females. The belief was that receiving a high school diploma paved the way for opportunities to work, earn a living and take care of the a family.  With a higher percentage of women graduating high school it would mean that they have to lead the way in providing financially for their families. Consequently, opportunities for advancement became much harder for males (Holzman, 2012).

Similarly, the National Center for Educational Statistics revealed that female African American students were more likely to graduate high school and enroll in college. The rate was 61% for females and 39% for males. Also, of the enrolment statistics showed more females were likely to remain in college and graduate than males. A 2004 survey revealed that 96 % of African American female high-school seniors wanted to go to college compared 90% of males (Ross et.al, 2002)

Davis and Moore (2000) tried to explain through theory the differences between educational desires and attainment of African American males versus females. They said that it was a design of social stratification. Arguments points to education being a competitive device. This competition should make people want to achieve. However, a non-competitive model offers more opportunities to perform roles within a structure (Davis & Moore, 1945).

Further findings from Davis and Moore (1945) revealed that education is a social structure within an institution. Graduating from high school is competitive. The desire to achieve this goal must be equal between males and females African American students. From the review of literature there is no equal desire to obtain the same goals. Therefore, there is this great gap between African American males graduating from high school and going on to further their education against females.

This brief literature review supported data obtained from my school and the other two from my region. High school graduation rates for African American males were 39% against 50% females. 11% of students of African American did not graduate high school. From the regional assessment 40% males graduated against 58% females. Overall a 2% did not graduate (Ross et.al, 2002).

Methodologies of Other Authors

When comparing these data with other authors they confirm many of my findings, but went on clarify them by offering reasons for the social issue. A 2010 study conducted by Pearson Education Incorporation revealed that African American males as well as females are placing value on education. They expect it to promote social mobility; improve their life chances and narrow gaps of inequality in the society (Pearson Education Incorporation, 2010).

The researchers further cited reasons for African American/black males performing less than their female partners. Insensitive teachers; overcrowded class rooms, dilapidated schools; administrators who would not listen to social issues of black males; poor or no counseling and subjects taught  do not interest boys  were the  main causes for the differences in performance across the nation (Pearson-Education Incorporation, 2010).

Similarly, John Merrow (2011) author of the book ‘Below C Level’ advocated that schools should be designed to train black boys separately from girls and other ethnic groups. This should be done to remove irrelevant subjects that have no bearing on the development of males. He also pointed out that the White House should refrain from using words like encourage, compile convene and marshal when talking about boys education because it can affect this group negatively. It can induced an inferiority complex (Merrow, 2011)

(Please see Appendix)

IV. Discussion and Summary

I expected to find that female African Americans graduation rate to be higher than males. This seems quite obvious from just attending graduation ceremonies. These findings conformed what I had expected because they answered the research questions and I was surprised. In terms of social mobility and life chances West (1994) confirmed that black leaders were always in the middle strata.

The concepts black and social status were emphasized and related to this study.  Steel ( 2001)explored the life chances issue to say that even after years of work there were no improvements in this area. From my research findings there is a difference of 47% boys to 53% girls in high school graduation rate across the nation between. This is not a large, but meaningful.  More black females tend to seek higher education than males; 39% males to 61% females. This has affected social mobility greatly because African Americans depend on education to push them up the social ladder. It would also affect their opportunities for improvement. If they have no high school diploma or further education this is critical to social well-being. These findings did not surprise me. My preconceptions were answered.

They were consistent with my hypothesis that there seems to be a significant difference between the high school graduation rates of African American (black) females and males, which affects their social mobility. From my observation more women are seen on University and college campuses.

Maybe there female population may also be greater than males. Hence, there is an apparent dominance of males over females in schools and higher educational institutions.  The dependent variables education, social mobility and life chances all show a positive relationship to the independent variable African American males/females. The theory/concepts used were social stratification.

Definition of Race and ethnicity

My definition of race and ethnicity is a philosophy of identifying African Americans by their skin; hair texture; cultural values. They are specifically black people with dark skin an curly hair. It embraces countries where they were born and the culture in which they grew up. In relating this concept to the group studied, it would seem that African Americans is a race with its ancestry form West Africa.

References

Davis, K., & W. E. Moore. (2000). Some principles of stratification. American Sociological Review, 10, 242-249.

Holzman, M. (2012). The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black males. Schott Foundation of Public Education.

Merrow, J. (2011). Below the C level. New York. Createspace

Pearson Education Incorporation (2010). African Americans Today.  New Jersey. Upper Eddie River.

Ross, T., Kena, G., Rathbun, A., KewalRamani, A., Zhang, J., Kristapovich, P., & Manning, E. (2012). Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study (NCES 2012-046). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

Rodriguez, R (2002). Searching for Roots in a Changing world. The News Hour

Steele, S. ( 2001). The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America. Harper Perennial.

West, C (1994). Race Matters. Boiston. Beacon Press.

Appendix –   Summary of high school graduation rates and college desires

African American Males versus Females

African American Gender High school graduation rate College desire rate Social Mobility and Life Chance out- come
Male 47% 39% Less than average
Female 53% 61% Average and above

 

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