Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Maryland Report Documents Ongoing Disparites

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Maryland Report Documents Ongoing Disparites

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- In the first of what is expected to be a series of state-by-state reports on the status of Blacks in higher education in the South, the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) declares that although Maryland has been in some ways a leader in ensuring equal educational opportunities for African Americans, it still has, in the words of the report's title, Miles to Go.

"African American students are being lost at every point in the educational continuum, from grade school through the university, the report says.

The Maryland study follows a report by the same name, which was issued last August, on how the South as a whole is doing in meeting its obligations under the Adams case. Adams is the Supreme Court case that determined that southern states still have segregated higher education systems that must be dismantled, in part through equal funding of all public colleges in the South. (For more information on the original Miles to Go report, see Black Issues, Sept. 17, 1998.)

The Maryland report was prepared with the cooperation of much of Maryland's officialdom, including the state's higher education commission, department of education, many university presidents, and the General Assembly.

In commenting on the report, State Del. Howard P. Rawlings (D), a member of the SEF's national advisory panel, says, "None of us can afford to have this growing segment of our college-age population undereducated, and we have a vested interest in changing conditions so that they can succeed."

The report cites statistics that say that while 80 percent of White students who entered Maryland's high schools in 1992 graduate four years later, only 62 percent of African American students did the same. Similarly, while 61 percent of the state's White high school graduates enrolled in higher education in 1996, only 53 percent of their African American counterparts did so.

In addition, of the Black students enrolling in higher education in 1996, the majority--57 percent--attended community colleges, from which they are less likely than White students to transfer to four-year institutions. Among first-year students at community colleges in 1992, 38 percent of White students had graduated or transferred to four-year institutions by 1996, while only 19 percent of Black students had.

However, the report does not explain that community college transfer rates are very difficult to determine. For example, in Maryland, students are only counted as transferring if they transfer to a public, four-year college in Maryland. …

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