African American males consistently perform at significantly lower academic levels, than their peers, at every age level and on almost every national assessment (Lewis, Simon, Uzzell, Horwitz, & Casserly, 2010; Harvey, 2010; Tsoi-A-Fatt, 2010; Fergus & Noguera, 2010), and of all racial/ethnic and gender groups, African American males continue to be the least likely to secure a regular high school diploma in four years (Schott Foundation, 2012). Their lack of educational progress increases the likelihood that many of them will not live productive and meaningful lives, and they will be trapped in a continuous cycle of poverty. Because of the technical skills required to be employable in the 21st century workforce, getting a quality education may be more critical now, than in years past (Jackson & Moore, 2006).
Too many of the African American male students in several of the coeducational public schools within the urban centers of the United States are not achieving academically. It is the researcher’s opinion that many of the coeducational public schools, in large urban cities, are not meeting the social and emotional needs of their African American males, which greatly contributes to the low academic performance of these students. If this nation is truly serious about ameliorating the educational problems of these members of our society, we need to examine, and adopt educational alternatives to these schools that have historically not met their needs.
This qualitative study will examine the impact of single gender public schools on the educational progress of young, low-income African American males. The specific
aim of this inquiry is to add to the limited, but growing collection of theories and research about single gender public schools and to critically examine how these single gender public schools affect the social, emotional, and academic progress of young, low-income African American males. This study will focus on the perceptions and experiences of young, low-income, African American males who attend a single gender public school; perceptions and experiences of their parents and/or guardians; and the perceptions and experiences of their teachers and administrator. Specifically, this study will focus on what the single gender public school is doing to develop a school culture designed to address the social, emotional, and academic needs of these young, low-income, African American males.
The researcher designed and conducted a pilot study to explore the complexities of the research process. The participants of the pilot study were six African American male students, their parents/guardians, three of their teachers, and their administrator. The pilot study was conducted at The Leaders Academy, an all African American male, public high school located in a large Midwestern city. The Leaders Academy also served as the site for the final study, which will focus on four students, their parents/guardians, three teachers, and the principal.