According to a recent study by the Washington, D.C.-based Council of the Great City Schools, Black males account for only 4% of college students in the United States.
Meanwhile, in New York State for example, over 50 percent of prison inmates are Black males.
Poverty is clearly a major factor perpetuating the school-to-prison pipeline. But many community activists point specifically to a lack of male role models in the lives of young men, and intervention that comes too little and too late.
A variety of youth programs and colleges are working hard to counteract these trends, but is it enough?
“‘The reality is the African-American males are a dying breed and going to jail, and going to jail is almost a death sentence,’ he said. ‘As more and more black males drop out of school, they drop into prison. By the time the prisons get finished with them they are worthless.’
Mohawk Valley Community College saw such a need among black males and former inmates that the school instituted a program specifically to support inmates who return to college. It also has hosted retreats and workshops for men of color. Nearly 4 percent of MVCC college students in fall 2011 were black males.
Patrick Johnson, the college’s community civility liaison, is responsible for supporting these groups on campus. But without black male role models in schools, homes and in communities, it will be difficult to increase this group’s presence on college campuses, he said.
‘These young black males need positive black male role models not only at home but a place that they frequent which is in school,’ Johnson said. ‘If that is a very limited experience, it creates an easy pipeline from public schools to prison.'”
Why are so few Black males in college?
What will it take to turn these trends around?
Sound off below!