Tag Archives: the achievement gap

Tapping the Economic Potential of African American Men

Are African American males our greatest untapped resource?

The answer is yes, according to a study by Policy Bridge, Cleveland-based, minority-focused think tank.


“No single resource in Northeast Ohio is as underutilized as African-American males,” reports the agency in its study, Untapped Potential, African-American Males in Northeast Ohio.

• In Cleveland, roughly 65 percent of all males living in poverty are

• Roughly a third of African-American men in Northeast Ohio cities never completed high school.

• African-American men are unemployed at twice the rate of the total male
population in nearly every Northeast Ohio county and remain so for
longer periods.

“The loss of African-American male potential is, in fact, a loss of income
that is crippling the regional and state economies,” study authors report.

I never thought of the situation this way, but this is a very interesting argument.

Do the math. In 2003, workers who did not complete high school earned less than $21,000 a year on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Are high drop-out rates and discriminatory hiring practices ensuring a future of poverty in Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown?

What about Detroit? Gary? St. Louis?

What can be done to reverse course?

Policy Bridge has these recommendations:

“By investing in better educating, fully employing, and fairly compensating the African-American male population, the area is investing in its own well-being. The return on investment will come in the form of increased consumer buying power, increased income and property taxes, increased civic engagement, and renewed economic growth.

“Before this reward can be realized, however, the community must undergo a
change in viewpoint: The African-American male population must no longer be seen as a potential drain on community resources, but as an untapped well of economic potential and a key ingredient to Northeast Ohio’s economic recovery.”



Filed under Education, Featured, Race Relations

Faces of Cleveland Youth

A Cleveland Magazine reporter has been following three Cleveland Public School students for 18 months to answer the question: What’s it like growing up in one of the country’s poorest cities?

It’s not a pretty picture, at least according to these three accounts.

There’s Ruben, a West Side Puerto Rican with a learning disability that recently knocked up his girlfriend.

There’s Angela, who spends are her time exhausted from her night job at Taco Bell, where she works to help support her ailing mother and younger sister.

And Gerald, a respectful and promising student, who aspires to be a rapper and go to college.

“People who live in the suburbs, they work hard to be in the suburbs, and they want to make sure their kids have a good life,” he says. “It’s not like there’s a sign on the suburbs that says you can’t move there. So I can’t knock them.”

Gerald is my favorite

Gerald is my favorite

All of them are struggling to graduate from Lincoln West High School. Some make it, some don’t.

This is a great piece of journalism about an important issue it’s all too easy to forget about.


Filed under Education, Featured

Chicago School Students Demand Equality in Education Funding

  This is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever read. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that 1,000 students from Chicago Public Schools skipped the first day of class, rode a bus to a wealthy district and tried to register as students in order to highlight the gross inequalities that exist in the Illinois’ public schools.

  The story follows Brandon, a student from Chicago’s mostly-black South Side, whose school spends about $11,000 per student per year, and Amanda, who attends one of the nation’s wealthiest schools a short distance away. Her district spends $17,000 per student.

  This is the best part: the former school district, New Trier, welcomed the protesters.

  “This was not done to embarrass us, but to call attention to the fact that not every school has the resources we do,” said Superintendent Linda Yonke. “We may disagree about his methods, but there is really very little disagreement about the state of funding in Illinois.”

New Trier High School in one of the country's highest-income zip codes

New Trier High School, spending per pupil: $17,000.

  The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that Illinois contributes the second least of any state to primary and secondary education, which could help to offset funding inequalities caused by variable property values.

  Of the 51 poorest school districts in Illinois, more than half are majority black. Three out of four of the state’s black children and two out of three of the state’s latino students attend a high-poverty school.

Chicago's Morgan Park High School, spending per pupil: $11,000.

Chicago's Morgan Park High School, spending per pupil: $11,000.

  Students from both districts have combined to form the Illinois Council of Students. They drafted a “Students’ Bill of Rights” and are traveling the state to champion education-spending reform.

  We need a group like this in Ohio.

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Filed under Featured, Good Ideas, Public Education

The Trainwreck That Is Our City Schools

A Detroit News story today about an effort to reform a Detroit Public School caught my eye.  The story was about Osborn High School, where only 4 percent of students passed the math and writing portions of the Michigan merit exam last year.


Did you know what the graduation rate in Detroit Public Schools is? 37.5 percent! The lowest in the country. Continue reading


Filed under Editorial, Public Education