Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Richard Curtis

Committee Members

Barry Spunt

Larry Sullivan

Subject Categories

Criminology and Criminal Justice


Survey and focus group sampling of students in high achieving schools compared to lower achieving schools were used to examine why there are fewer black men graduating from high schools in New York City as well as high schools around the country compared to other groups of students. Race is disaggregated in order to look at the difference in achievement rates for African American, black Hispanic, African, and Afro-Caribbean men. The findings support the contention that foreign-born blacks do better academically than native blacks.

Focus groups consist of black males, females, and staff at six of the 12 schools; field notes are included for the other five. The research includes 23 faculty members, and 155 participants with quantitative data on 151 student participants, largely black males. Schools were sampled across four typologies: alternative, empowerment, private, and public to compare high achieving and low achieving schools. The findings uncover some of the reasons as to why fewer black males were graduating from high school. Some of the reasons include weak family, school, and community networks, and low skill levels. Successful black males report strong familial and school community networks, positive school culture that encourages learning, and high teacher expectation. Students report violent schools, teachers who do not make learning relevant, and apathetic teachers and staff hinder learning. The findings intend to inform the development of programs, designed to address the needs of black male students who attend John Jay, other City University of New York colleges, and schools across the country.

Given the interest in growing incarceration rates and penal policy, this research explores proactive measures for dealing with at risk youth, e.g. creating tutoring and mentoring programs, recruiting and retaining more teachers and administrators who represent the student body, providing more funding for NCLB, diverting first time offenders, and expanding breakfast and lunch programs.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.