NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Urban Blacks Still Being Shortchanged on Education

May 29, 2002

The 2000 census verified the many advances achieved by black Americans over recent decades. In the education sphere, for example:

  • Today, nearly 80 percent of blacks over the age of 25 hold high school degrees -- up from 50 percent in 1980 and just 37 percent in 1960.
  • Some 87 percent of blacks between ages 25 and 29 are high school graduates -- the same proportion as whites.
  • Forty years ago, just 3 percent of blacks held college degrees -- compared to 17 percent in 2000.

All that said, blacks still lag behind educationally. Test-score differences between black and white students persist, from fourth-grade proficiency exams straight through to SAT scores.

Observers say the last great barrier to educational equality in America is urban education reform. Reformers look to school choice -- particularly vouchers -- as the answer.

Results from existing voucher programs -- in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Florida --show that school choice enhances student achievement.

Source: Editorial, "Closing the Education Gap," Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2002.


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