Fewer than half of all Black males nationwide graduate from high school according to a new report which paints a grim picture of the current state of education for African-American males.

The findings are part of The 2010 Schott 50 State Report on Black Males in Public Education.

According to the report, only 47 percent of Black males graduated from high school in the 2007-2008 school year, compared to 78 percent for White males. While the disparity is alarming, the authors of the report said they believe it’s not due to the ability of Black males intellectual abilities.

“It indicates that systemic disparities evident by race, social class, or zip code are influenced more by the social policies and practices that WE put in place to distribute educational opportunities and resources and less by the abilities of Black males,” John H. Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation, wrote in the report. “Currently, the rate at which Black males are being pushed out of school and into the pipeline to prison far exceeds the rate at which they are graduating and reaching high levels of academic achievement.”

Nationally, the five worst performing states are New York, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana and Nebraska. Florida has four of the 10 lowest performing districts nationally and New York has two, including New York City and Buffalo.

Locally, Baltimore city has a graduation rate of 35 percent, Washington, D.C. lists a rate of 41 percent, Prince George’s County has a rate of 55 percent, and Baltimore County has a rate of 67 percent.

Many local educators have taken notice of the trend. Rodney Henderson, principal of Possibility Prep, a new public charter school in Prince George’s County, said that America must look at how it reaches Black males in the classroom.

“Right now there’s a need for a different approach with our African-American men,” said Henderson,.. “We know that right now young men are lagging behind in achievement in comparison to young women. The gap is even larger when you add race into the equation.”

Henderson said that at his school the goal “to eliminate those achievement gaps so that one of our highest functioning target populations is African-American males instead of being the group that lags behind.”

The Schott Foundation for Public Education was founded in 1991 by Lilo Leeds and Greg Jobin-Leeds. The foundation’s mission is to achieve fully resourced pre-K-12 public education.