Promoting Mental Health thru Education by Reducing and Reversing Academic Problems of At-Risk Minority Males: The 100% Graduation Rate Program
By Albert N. Mitchell II, New Jersey Minority Educational Development, Executive Director, Dedicated to the late Dr. Lambert Blunt Jackson (2001)
The 100% Graduation Rate Program is a 4-year school-based Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CBT)1 intervention and prevention program for at-risk minority male student’s ages 13 to 19. That teaches skills to build resiliency against academic failure and control early signs of problem behavior. The goal of the program is to develop collaboration between the business, academic, and service communities in inner cities to encourage these males to stay in school and reach their full potential, and to reduce the likelihood, that they will become involved in the criminal justice system by addressing several areas of their academic and social development.
Intervention and Prevention
In keeping with the goals and objectives of the CBT model, the program is designed to reduce and reverse Academic problems2 of an underserved population, as well as, address 6 related areas of interest: (1) Aggression/Violence; (2) Gang Activity; (3) Delinquency; (4) Alcohol, and other Drug Use; (5) Sexual Activity/Exploitation; and (6) Family Functioning.3-15
The Intervention Targets an Underserved Population: At-Risk Minority Male
Today, one out of every 3 young African-American male and one out of every 8 young Hispanic male in the U.S. is under the direct supervision of the criminal justice system, either incarcerated, on parole, or on probation.16 African-American and Hispanic males also account for over 70 percent of our nation’s prison population, which cost the U.S. economy roughly $30 billion a year.17 (Many States currently spend more on prisons than they do on health care, education or housing programs.) The one common theme that has caused this problem has been the lack of education by this population. According to the U.S. Justice Department, forty-five percent of their minority male inmates are high school drop-outs.18
More incredible, is that 52 percent of all African-American male high school dropouts have a prison record by their early thirties.19 And for the minority male high school dropouts, not in the criminal justice system, 72 percent of African-American males are unemployed, while 44% of Hispanic male high school dropouts work at low-skill, low-wages jobs that offer little to no health benefits for them or their families.
Also consider, with more than 60% of all today’s minority male children growing-up in a single-parent mother household, 3 out of 4 live in low-income families.20 As a result, many of these young men are also more likely to have low earnings jobs as adults, and as teenagers are more likely to drop-out of school, abuse drugs, be incarcerated, become teen parents, have behavioral disorders, and run away from home or join a gang.21 If this current trend continues, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 of all African-American males and 1 in 6 of all Hispanic males have a chance of going to prison during their lifetime.22
Without question, the most important factor causing minority males lack of productive growth in the 21st century, will be the high school drop-out problem,23 and the problem behavior that cause it, and if we as a nation continue to choose to disconnect this population from our mainstream society, it will destroy human capital, reduce our labor force, and cost state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain these communities.24
Objective: Defining the Minority Male Student Problem and Reverse its Negative Effects
Our intervention’s first objective is to pay particular attention to the high school graduation rates of minority males, and we have done so largely by focusing on their high school dropout problem. Perhaps no area has proven more clearly appropriate for the application of systematic research and reporting than the lack of progress of minority males in our current public high school educational system, and the negative effect it has caused for this group, for their families, for governmental agencies, and for society as a whole. Therefore, we thought that this group would be the most challenging to reach, and that our first task should be towards helping define the problems affecting their education by addressing five main issues of national concern for this population:25
- low high school graduation rates;
- poor college enrollment, retention, and graduation;
- their impact on the juvenile and adult justice system;
- employment readiness for the workforce;
- lack of fathers as head of households
This program study of – the 100% Graduation Rate Program – consist of two studies, from pre-test adolescents to young adults.
Study 1 (13-19 year olds) has two parts. Part one will first analyze six areas of youth problems from its 10-year study of a two social group of 285 high school minority male student’s participants, who were at a high risk of achieving below their academic and social potential because of their limited socioeconomic conditions in the City of Camden, New Jersey. The second part of Study 1 will consist of the individual student results of the 210 males who were randomly assigned to the 4-year CBT program model design.
Study 2 of the report will track 270 of the males (18 to 26 year olds) from study 1 as they develop into early adulthood in addressing their abilities in three behavioral areas – Academic Problems, Aggression/Violence and non-Family Function. Study 2 will also try to evaluate the long-term effect of the program’s treatment towards reversing the in-group development of this population.
We hope to use the empirical research from this program’s study to develop a CBT model intervention and prevention process that can be replicated in other communities to cultivate minority males towards better social behavior and higher education.26 We believe that the study‘s findings have provided a reasonably accurate picture of the basic size and contours of the problems of minority male high school students lack of achievement and attainment in our national public educational system, and can be a prerequisite for rational public debate and policy making. We strongly believe that in the absence of such reliable prevalence data, substantial misconceptions can develop and valuable resources can be misallocated. We also believe that in the absence of “new” reliable data on problem behavior patterns, early detection and localization of emerging problems are more difficult, and assessments of the impact of major historical and policy-induced events are much more conjectural.27
We feel this program study also offers many important research behavioral objectives besides assessing accurately prevalence and social patterns of minority males, and tries to determine the causes of some of these factors. Among those other objectives are: 1) helping to determine what types of males are at greater risk for developing various patterns of anti-social behaviors; 2) gaining a better understanding of lifestyles and value orientations associated with various peer groups; and 3) monitoring how those orientations are shifted over time.28 We believe this study’s findings will identify what is happening to deter minority male’s academic achievement, and what has happened to limit their opportunities to achieve greater future employment success and create healthier families.29
As stated earlier, two studies were conducted; the first study was used as the intervention for adolescent males while they attended high school towards reducing high school dropouts and limited their involvement in the juvenile justice system. The second study measured the effect of the prevention in reference to the participants achieving their pre-set goals of completing high school, attending college, getting a job and becoming independent, as well as, its effect on their in-group development and their capacity towards building whole families.
For your free copy of this study please, Please CLICK BELOW