There is considerable public and private attention directed toward the current social, political and economic status of African American males in the United States. As a group, African American males place last on most positive indicators and first on most negative indicators. These facts, at first glance, might be alarming on their own, though first and last are expected parameters in descriptive statistics. What is highly alarming is the size of the gap between African American males and other groups on various indicators, and the consistency in which African American males are in a negative position and the painfully slow progress that we as a nation are making toward correcting the situation, and “correcting” is used loosely. The status of African American males is considered from an education economics point of view and a strategy for reversing disturbing trends for this group is presented. Significantly, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines are long-standing contributors to the economic development of the nation. Although some African American males are educationally and professionally successful in STEM careers, African American males' proportions pale in comparison with other groups. Effective mentoring strategies are offered as a means for increasing the success rate in these rigorous fields and ultimately reversing the current trends regarding the condition of African American males in the United States.
Gayle Harris Watkins, P. and Lee, W.Y. (2011), "Chapter 11 Maximizing Returns on Public Investments: Mentoring African American Males in STEM Disciplines", Frierson, H.T. and Tate, W.F. (Ed.) Beyond Stock Stories and Folktales: African Americans' Paths to STEM Fields (Diversity in Higher Education, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 227-241. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-3644(2011)0000011015
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