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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Economics huge factor in education gap

Where do you sit on a school bus whose ticket is too high? (Photo by SteveCof00)
One has to admit that parents who have higher incomes and jobs can afford to pay for better childcare and education for their children. And although some students from poor and middle class families have been able to acquire scholarships and funding for college, most kids don't have access to proper counseling or test scores required to receive a "competitive" education.

As more children attend "segregated" schools due to an increase in private, independent and charter institutions, one has to wonder what the government is doing to advance the education of African Americans. What can the government do to improve the education of its black citizens, and does it really want to level the playing field?

"An educated nigger asks questions that the establishment does not want to answer," probably would be the response some old time civil rights activists would surmise, for the uneducated can be easily enslaved in a capitalist society. And if you are not rich, he or she may argue, why not make the education so unaffordable that those wishing to advance will strap themselves with un-bankruptible debt with no guarantee of a job. This is the conundrum in which we find ourselves.

The education issue cannot be addressed until the poverty/economic equality/unemployment issue is addressed. According to, the 2012 US Census Bureau reported that the poverty rate for all African Americans was 28.1%, up from 25.5% in 2005, so access to funds to finance an education are fewer. 

For those in the bottom income quartile, average college costs after all grant aid represented 84 percent of the average family income. Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the United States, 45 Year Trend Report, 2015," Pell Institute

Also, black families with children under 18 headed by a single mother have a poverty rate of 47.5% compared to 8.4% of married black couple families. According to, single mother-run families also have more issues negatively affecting their children. "Statistically, a child in a single-parent household is far more likely to experience violence, commit suicide, continue a cycle of poverty, become drug dependent, commit a crime or perform below his peers in education."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 12 million single parent families in 2013, and more than 80% were headed by single mothers. Additionally, 17.5 million children are being raised without a father and 45% of them live below the poverty line.

Poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, particularly if they are black or Hispanic. In 2010, 31.6 percent of households headed by single women were poor, while 15.8 percent of households headed by single men and 6.2 percent of married-couple households lived in poverty. --- National Poverty Center

One program set up to address these issues is the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, a government effort to provide "a complete and competitive education for all Americans."


On July 26, 2012, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order "to restore the country to its role as the global leader in education, to strengthen the Nation by improving educational outcomes for African Americans of all ages, and to help ensure that all African Americans receive an education that properly prepares them for college, productive careers, and satisfying lives."

The Order stated obstacles facing African Americans:
1) equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools, and challenging college-preparatory classes,
2) disproportionate  school discipline experience and referrals to special education,
3) student achievement not only lags behind that of their domestic peers by an average of two grade levels, but also behind students in almost every other developed nation,
4) low high school graduation rates/on time graduation with a regular high school diploma,
5) only four percent of African American high school graduates interested in college are college-ready across a range of subjects,
6) large number of males do not graduate with a regular high school diploma and experience disparate rates of incarceration.

To learn more about this Initiative, go to:

On screen it looks good, but it is unclear whether it has been affective. Since this Initiative was put in place, statistics relating to educational advancement must be analyzed:
1) number of African Americans not able to pay back student loans
2) drop out rates
3) graduation rates
4) number of black PhDs in educational leadership
5) number of bankruptcies
6) number of black teachers
7) number of black counselors
8) number of black school principals
9) number of blacks on school boards
10) number of black superintendents
11) government support of HBCUs

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