Author Archives: James L Moore III

Recent Report Identifies Factors That Improve Educational Outcomes for Black Males

By James Moore III

In a recent report entitled, “Breaking Barriers: Plotting the Path to Academic Success for School-Age African-American Males,” Dr. Ivory A. Toldson, senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Foundation, Inc., identifies salient factors that improve educational outcomes for Black males. He uses data from four nationally recognized databases, such as Health Behavior in School-Age Children, National Crime Victimization Survey: School Crime Supplement, National Survey of America’s Families, and National Survey on Drug Use and Health to develop the research policy report. More specifically, Dr. Toldson uses these databases to explore personal and emotional factors, family factors, social and environmental factors, and school factors. These are the common domains thought to impact educational outcomes for students in general and Black males in particular.

In summation, Dr. Toldson found strong correlations between academic achievement and the aforementioned factors. Regarding personal and emotional factors, he also found that academically successful Black males were almost two times as likely to report feeling happy about their life, when compared to their Black male counterparts who were failing. Consistent with past studies, he also discovered that Black males who hoped to attend college were more likely to do better in school. Additionally, Dr. Toldson found that high-achieving Black males had more positive experiences with classmates and less involvement with bullying and fighting compared to their peers.

Regarding family factors, Black males, with a father in the home, had higher levels of academic success. Father’s educational level also had more impact on Black males’ school outcomes than mother’s education. However, this was not true for their Black female counterparts. Regarding social and environmental factors, Black males — who resided in homes with more financial resources — did better in school than those who did not have such resources. Additionally, participation in sports positively influenced these students’ academic achievement.

Consistent with current research literature, Dr. Toldson also found that the teacher played a tremendous role in the Black males’ education. For example, the students tended do better in school and were engaged, when they had teachers who were interested in them. Additionally, regarding school factors, Dr. Toldson found that the students did better in school, when they felt safe and were less likely to carry a weapon.

This report was both timely and insightful. I strongly recommend that the readers of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education review this report. It provides a fresh perspective on Black male students at the secondary level. In my opinion, Dr. Toldson does a great job linking his findings to public policy. Hopefully, such work, as well mine, will find its way in the hands of policy makers, practitioners, and the Black community at-large.

Like I always, I look forward to having intimate dialogue and exchange on the findings of the report and its many implications to policy and practice. If you would like to retrieve the report, I recommend that you click on the following website: http://www.cbcfinc.org/Newsroom/black_males.html .

Dr. James L. Moore III is a tenured associate professor in the College of Education and Human Ecology and is the inaugural director of the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male at The Ohio State University.

Pew Charitable Trusts’ Recent Report, One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008

By Dr. James Moore, III

In a recent report entitled, One in100: Behind Bars in America 2008, Pew Charitable Trusts highlights the growth in America’s prison population. For the first time in American society, more than one in every 100 adults finds themselves incarcerated. The U.S. inmate population is higher than that of all the 26 largest European nations combined. In fact, the U.S. has more of its citizens incarcerated than any other country in the world, including China and Russia.

When disagregating the data by ethnicity and gender, the figures are even more startling. For example, 1 of 15 African American males, 18 years or older, are incarcerated compared to 1 of 106 white males.  Further, one of 9 African American males, between the ages of 20 to 34, find themselves in prison or jail.

Males are more likely to be incarcerated than their female counterparts (10 times more likely). However, it is important to note that the women inmate population is rapidly increasing. While the inmate rate is higher for African American and white males, one of 100 African American females, ages 35 to 39, are behind bars.

Based on previous reports produced by organizations, such as the Children’s Defense Fund, it is clear that the prison industry is a major public policy concern. It has major implications, particularly from an economic standpoint. With this in mind, how can this nation protect public safety while reducing the growth of the prison population? How can we revitalize our communities? What is the role of the Black academic and scholar?

Like I always, I look forward to having intimate dialogue and exchange on this very important topic.

James L. Moore III, Ph.D. is the director of the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male at The Ohio State University.

AAUW’s Recent Report, Where the Girls Are: The Facts about Gender Equity in Education Sparking a National Debate

By Dr. James Moore, III

In recent popular publications, such as Newsweek and New Republic, the gender equity discourse has changed focused. In these magazines, the authors suggest that girls are no longer educationally disadvantaged, due to their academic successes throughout the educational pipeline. These publications further suggest that boys are now the disadvantaged group, due to their declining academic performance. After reading these publications, one may leave thinking that decades of efforts to improve school outcomes for girls have come at the expense of boys.

Recently, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) unveiled a landmark report entitled, Where the Girls Are: The Facts about Gender Equity in Education Sparking a National Debate. It uses national data (i.e., NAEP scores, SAT scores, ACT scores, and high school grade point averages) to highlight girls’ educational outcomes in the last 35 years. In this report, its authors (Christianne Corbette, Catherine Hill and Andresse St. Rose) focus on the relationships between girls’ and boys’ academic progress. The authors use national data to examine educational trends for these two groups in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary settings.

After reading Where the Girls Are, it is clear that AAUW produced this report to shatter the notion that boys are disadvantaged educationally, because of girls. The report reveals that girls in general have made significant educational gains, as well as boys. There was not any significant differences between the two groups’ education progress, when you examined within group data. However, the report did reveal clear differences based on race/ethnicity and family income. For example, African American and Hispanic students – both girls and boys – scored significantly lower than their White and Asian American counterparts.

Based on these findings, both race and class have once again emerged as salient variables. Like many other studies, I was disappointed that the report did not develop this part of the document. To me, the authors missed an opportunity to expand the discourse beyond issues of girls. How might we expand this discourse to capture the authentic voices of people of color (boys and girls) and low-income populations? How can organizations, such as AAUW, help facilitate this dialogue among educators, researchers, and policy makers? If the report focused only on women and the different ethnic groups in America, what story would the same data tell? And, how would the narrators (or authors) tell the story?

In my opinion, racism and classism are alive and well in American society. I see them play out a lot in the lives of so many. This is clear, based on my research (see my website: http://www/education.osu.edu/jmoore).  I look forward to engaging you in civil dialogue on the aforementioned questions.

 Dr. James Moore, III is director of the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male at The Ohio State University.