The article does not gloss over the educational problems of black boys and men. It notes that black males graduate from high school and attend and complete college at disproportionately low rates and that black men are outnumbered by black women in colleges by a ratio nearly two to one, the highest level of gender imbalance of any racial or ethnic group. It cites a recent analysis by Shaun R. Harper, an assistant professor of higher-education management at the University of Pennsylvania, finding that fewer than a third of black men who enter four-year colleges as freshmen graduate within six years. Tellingly, Sterling H. Hudson III, dean of admissions and records at Morehouse College, is quoted saying "We really have to scour the entire country to seat a freshman class of 750 to 800 students."
It notes, for example, that University System of Georgia reports that its African American Male Initiative helped increase the system's enrollment of black male students by nearly 25 percent from 2002 to 2007, and that efforts are underway to determine which of several programs established as part of the initiative are having an impact.
Meanwhile, the Student African American Brotherhood, a national group that promotes mentor relationships and has chapters at more than 100 two-year and four-year colleges, is evaluating its programs' effectiveness with the help of a $725,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education.
Mr. Harper of the University of Pennsylvania is involved in two separate ambitious undertakings. With a Lumnia grant he is overseeing a four-year effort by six yet-to-be named colleges to collaboratively work to improve the education outcomes for their black male students. On top of that, he has spent much of the past three years studying the attitudes and habits of more than 200 academically successful black male undergraduates at 42 public and private colleges.One of the article's key conclusions is that efforts to help black males succeed in education institutions need to be mindful of the importance of support from their homes. It cites research by Mr. Harper and by Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, showing that most academically successful black males share a common background trait: parents who consistently express high expectations.