Profiles of graduating and nongraduating African-American males in Jesuit high schools

Franklin Nicholas Caesar, Fordham University


"Catholic schools are more successful with minority students" (Roman Catholic Schools in New York State, 1993, p. 3) than public schools. Even with this success there is evidence of problems encountered by minority students in Catholic secondary schools. Researchers assert these problems stem from the racist nature of the teachers and administrators who run the high schools. Two basic theories about how White teachers justify teaching Black students are a psychological analysis, which contends that the prejudiced attitudes, stereotypes, and lack of information about minorities will change once these are addressed and the individuals change their approach to the students. The other is a structural analysis, which views racism "not as misconception but as a structural arrangement among racial groups. The focus is on the distribution of power and wealth among the races in the United States" (Sleeter, 1993, p. 159). To succeed, minority students have constantly to wage a battle with individuals who are predominantly White European males with the "power" of race on their side. The initial question to be asked is why were these African-American students not graduating with their class? Were they "dropouts" in the pure sense of the word? In 90% of the cases, the student would transfer to another school. In some cases it was another Catholic school. Why were Jesuit schools failing them? Jesuit schools accept students who are in the top half or higher in their eighth-grade class. It is expected that these students will have the ability to succeed in a nurturing environment. The African-American students accepted into these schools were not any different from the general population. How is it that they were dropping out of these schools nearly twice as much as the White students? This study had as its foci the African-American students who transfer out of Jesuit high schools and those who have successfully graduated. The recommendations from this study were the following: (1) Jesuit secondary schools must reexamine their mission in light of the failure of these African-American students. (2) Jesuit schools have to look at their hiring practices and begin to diversify their teaching faculties and administrations. (3) The attitudes of White students, teachers, and administrators must be studied and understood when it comes to different minorities.

Subject Area

Educational administration|Ethnic studies|Secondary education|Black studies|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Caesar, Franklin Nicholas, "Profiles of graduating and nongraduating African-American males in Jesuit high schools" (1997). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9824341.