Black Graduation Rates Low

8 years 3 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, August 19 2010 Aug 19, 2010 Thursday, August 19, 2010 4:39:26 AM CDT August 19, 2010 in News

COLUMBIA - A new report says the national graduation rate for black males is dropping, Missouri's rate for all African Americans is also dropping. However, Columbia's rate is staying about the same.

The graduation rate for African Americans in Columbia has remained around 70 percent for the past five years. That's lower than the state's rate and lower than any other racial group in the Columbia Public School system.

"Like the rest of the nation we have an achievement gap and one way that the achievement gap rears it's ugly head is through graduation rates," Wanda Brown, Assistant Superintendent, said.

Brown said it's something Columbia Public Schools will continue to work on. But it isn't adding anything new to the agenda specifically geared towards African Americans. Brown said there is a new program geared towards helping all students -- the new comprehensive student improvement plan.

As for the reason behind the low rates Brown said it was a multifaceted issue. Tevon Moody, a recent Hickman High School graduate, said he thinks it has to do with motivation.

"They just didn't have the effort, effort to try and get it done," Moody said.

A sophomore football player at Hickman, J'Den Cox, had a suggestion on how to improve the rates.

"Focus on the kids that need it more, cause there's some kids that get it, and they don't need as much attention, focus on the kids who do," Cox said.

Cox and his friend Jeremiah Owens, a senior Hickman High School football player, both say they plan to graduate. Owens credited football for helping him stay motivated.

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