Status and Trends in the Education of Blacks examines the mix of progress
on key education indicators of Black children and adults in the United
States. The report released by the National Center for Education
Statistics shows that more Black students have completed high school
and gone on to college, levels of parental education of Black children
have increased, and the number of Black individuals and families below
the poverty level has decreased. Despite these gains, progress has been
uneven over time and across various measures, and differences persist
between Blacks and Whites on key indicators of education performance.
The following are highlights from the report.
Preprimary Education and Parental Education
Black children are more likely than White or Hispanic children to be enrolled in center-based preprimary education at the ages of 3, 4, and 5.
The gap between the percentages of White and Black children whose mothers attained at least a high school education declined between 1974 and 1999, but some difference remained in 1999. The gap between the percentages of White and Black children whose mothers attained a bachelor's degree has been increasing since 1974 (figure A).
Figure A. Percent of 6- to 18-year-olds, by mothers' highest education level and race/ethnicity: Selected years, 1974 to 1999
NOTE: The Current Population Survey (CPS) questions
used to obtain educational attainment werechanged in 1992. In 1994, the
survey instrument design for the CPS was changed and weights were adjusted.
Information on mothers' educational attainment is available only for those
mothers who lived in the same household as their child.
SOURCE: U.S. Department
of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, The Condition
of Education 2001, based on U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of
the Census, March Current Population Surveys, various years. (Originally
published on p. 71 of the complete report from which this article is excerpted.)
Most Black students attend public schools where minorities represent the majority of the student body. Seventy-three percent of Black 4th-grade students were enrolled in schools with more than one-half of the students eligible to receive a free or reduced-price lunch.
No differences were detected in the percent of Black and White 8th-graders or Black and White 12th-graders absent 3 or more days in the preceding month.
Blacks have higher dropout rates than Whites but lower dropout rates than Hispanics.
Long-term trends in National Assessment of Educational
Progress (NAEP) scores show increased performance in reading for
Black students between 1971 and 1999. Trends in Black performance in
NAEP mathematics and sciences also show improvements over the long term.
In 1998, Black students were less likely than White students to take advanced mathematics courses and some advanced science courses and less likely than Hispanic students to take advanced foreign language classes. Between 1984 and 2000, the number of Black students per 1,000 12th-graders taking Advanced Placement (AP) examinations increased (figure B). However, fewer Black students per 1,000 12th-graders than White or Hispanic students took AP exams in 2000.
In 1999, a higher percentage of Black and Hispanic children than White children attended public schools chosen by their parents; however, a lower percentage of Black and Hispanic children than White children were in private schools.
In 1999, Black students were more likely than White students to report discussing the national news and watching or listening to the national news with others.
Blacks ages 12 to 17 were less likely than Whites and Hispanics of the same ages to have used alcohol or tobacco.
Figure B. Number of students who took Advanced Placement (AP) examinations (per 1,000 12th-graders), by race/ethnicity: 1984–2000
NOTE: The number of 11th- and 12th-grade AP test-takers is used as the numerator and the number of students enrolled in the 12th grade are used as the denominator to calculate the ratios presented here. The number of 12th-graders is used as the denominator because this indicator approximates the proportion of each cohort of students for 1984 through 2000. A true measure would use the sum of 12th-grade AP test-takers for a given year and the 11th-grade AP test-takers for the preceding year as the numerator. However, breakdowns of the data by test-takers' grade are not available for all these years.
SOURCE: U.S. Department
of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Indicator of
the Month (October 1999): Students Who Took Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations
and unpublished data, based on College Entrance Examination Board, Advanced
Placement Program, National Summary Reports, 1984–2000, and U.S.
Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, October Current Population
Surveys, 1984–2000. (Originally published on p. 61 of the complete
report from which this article is excerpted.)
In 1999–2000, the proportion of associate's degrees earned by Blacks was greater than the proportion of bachelor's degrees earned by Blacks.
Nearly one-quarter of all bachelor's degrees earned by Blacks in 1999 were earned at historically Black colleges and universities.
The proportion of Blacks completing college increased between 1975 and 2000;
however, Blacks still remained less likely than Whites to earn degrees
In 1999, Black instructional faculty in colleges and universities were more likely to be assistant professors and instructors than professors or associate professors.
In the Labor Force
Blacks in 2000 had higher unemployment rates than both Whites and Hispanics at every level of education.
Fewer Black and Hispanic men and women than White men and women held managerial or professional positions in 2000.
Table A. Percent of 25- to 29-year-olds who have completed college (bachelor's degree or higher), by race/ethnicity and sex: Selected years 1965 to 2000
1Data for White and Black include those of Hispanic origin.
SOURCE: U.S. Department
of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education
Statistics 2001, based on U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census,
March Current Population Surveys, various years. (Originally published
on p. 107 of the complete report from which this article is excerpted.)
Data sources:The data are from numerous sources, including the following:
Other: Data from agencies and organizations such as the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP); U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics; College Entrance Examination Board; and American College Testing Program (ACT). Data from the report America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being.
For technical information,see the complete report:
Hoffman, K., and Llagas, C. (2003). Status and Trends in the
Education of Blacks (NCES
Author affiliations:K. Hoffman, Education Statistics Services Institute/American Institutes for Research; C. Llagas, American Institutes for Research.