Tuesday, May 17, 2011

School Integration Anniversary

Fifty-seven years after a Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools, an education nonprofit says school systems still must do more to equalize the graduation rates of all races.

The Alliance for Excellent Education says that while the Brown v. Board of Education ruling of 1954 was a great achievement in public education, the disparity in dropout rates between whites and minorities must be fixed.

Alliance President Bob Wise says if the nation could cut the annual number of minority dropouts in half, the resulting 375,000 “new graduates” would create 30,000 new jobs and increase gross domestic product by $5.4 billion over their careers. Wise says comparable figures would result from every subsequent graduating class.

Wise says halving the dropout rate of African-Americans in Pittsburgh would yield similar benefits for the city.

“It would result in $13 million more [in] annual income for these students when they’re fully into the workforce,” says Wise. “It would mean that they would have jobs, and their additional spending would generate 100 new jobs for the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, and they’d be able to buy $28 million more in homes, almost $1 million more in autos in a year.”

Wise says states must target their lowest-achieving schools, where minorities often make up a large part of the population.

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