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Listening to Young, Inner-City African-American Males (From America's Disconnected Youth: Toward a Preventive Strategy, P 133-150, 1999, Douglas J. Besharov, ed. -- See NCJ-180790)

NCJ Number
Kathryn Taaffe McLearn; Shawn V. LaFrance
Date Published
18 pages
Information from personal interviews of 360 low-income males ages 17-22 in predominantly black neighborhoods of Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York between October 1993 and March 1993 formed the basis of an analysis of young black males' perceptions of what helps them succeed in school.
Half of the youths had dropped out of school; the others were either attending high school, had graduated, had a GED, or were in college. The youths who did not drop out reported that parental and teacher support were the most important factors that helped them stay in school. The successful students said that their parents were more likely to supervise homework and visit teachers. These students were also more likely to report that they had a quiet, safe place to study after school. In addition, they were more likely than dropouts to have grown up with two parents in the home and were less likely to have moved frequently as a child or to report that a parent had a mental health or drug abuse problem. Moreover, the males who succeeded in school were more likely than those who dropped out to rate their teachers as competent; to have participated in a community, school, or church program; and to have had access to a counselor or mentors. They were also more likely to have had a job while in school. Findings indicated the importance of mentors. Findings also suggested that staying in or finishing high school can serve as a protective factor against engaging in risk-taking behaviors. Findings also indicated the importance of program and policy initiatives that keeps these youths in school and includes opportunities to form positive relationships with parents and other adults. Figures, table, note, and 18 references