BACK TO SCHOOL: Is Education Still The Key To Black Progress?

ImageMany parents are sending their children off to school this fall with lots of high hopes for their future.  However the debate rages on for those whose only options are "failing schools" where the achievement gaps for students is widening instead of closing.  Some are even questioning the real value of education as gaps in achievement and employment persist.  For many the old adage, "To get a good job, get a good education," seems to ring hollow -- especially for African American males.  

Faced with ongoing systemic barriers to progress, many question the value of traditional education. A review of the landscape shows why there is so much despair and lack of confidence in this traditional advice.

ImageNot Even One Single Black Student Passed State Tests Across 90 City Schools in New York. New York City public schools are having a hard time living up to the state standards. A new studyshowed that not a single black student had passed the math and reading exams that are required by the state. Not a single Hispanic student was found to have been able to pass the tests either. This new revelation shows yet again that there is a tremendous gap with the different races and the education that they receive.

ImageWhite High School Dropout Has Same Chances of Getting a Job as Black College Student
"At every level of education, race impacts a person's chance of getting a job," researcher Tom Allison told ThinkProgress. The study attributes the employment gap mainly to hiring discrimination, high incarceration rates for black people, and African Americans' lack of inherited wealth from past generations due to a long history of discrimination. African-American students need to complete two more levels of education to have the same probability of getting a job as their white peers, a new  study by Young Invincibles finds.

According to the study, even though unemployment is higher among African Americans at every level of education, the added gains in income and employment opportunities gained from getting an additional degree is much greater for African Americans than whites. For example, a professional degree gives a black male a 146 percent larger increase in employment opportunities than his white counterparts. A bachelor's degree raises the median wage of a black man by $10,000 per year, compared to a raise of $6,100 per year for a white man.

These headlines can be very discouraging for Black students thinking about the cost of obtaining a college education. So the big question remains, "Is education still the key to progress for African Americans?" 

I think the answer is still YES.

The Black millennial generation has a dual challenge -- persistent racial discrimination, and the increasing complexity of the workplace, requiring more education and skills.  Even though the challenges to progress are still great, the outcomes are better for those with more education. 


Whether we are sending our children off to primary and secondary school, or off to post-high school institutions, we must still emphasize the value of a good education.


What do you think? 


Roger Madison, CEO

iZania LLC