If someone told you that the graduation rate for the Chicago Public Schools, within 5 Years, was 68% would be shocked? Or perhaps you'd think it not so bad.
Well, what if that was the highest rated demographic, which it is according to an analysis of Illinois State Board of Education data? That demographic would be White female. The lowest graduation rate of any demographic was Black males at . . . 41%.
According to Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, "Lack of a diploma and solid work is the best predictor of ending up in jail." Not an earth shattering conclusion, but it should still be a call to action.
The complete data for the study shows just how ill prepared our youth are for the rigors of a competitive job market, and how our young men or all races are falling behind their female counterparts.
While the education debate often centers on the "gaps", our schools are becoming holding patterns for kids that will eventually feed the Prison Industrial Complex. Given this latest data, the raw materials for that industry are plentiful!
I read an article some time back titled "The Adoration of the Question." Essentially the author was lamenting about how we get stuck in our research, reporting, convening, discussion of issues (specifically the issue of our failure to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system), instead of taking action. Our failure as a community, as citizens and as individuals, to upgrade education as a priority is inexcusable.
As I've said before (but it's been a while since I blogged), our failure to educated our children is a moral, ethical, and even national security issue. Genius is unpredictable. Our next Einstein, Percy Julian, or Imhotep could be suffering from poorly motivated teachers and instead of providing the next miracle drug, delivering drugs in his neighborhood.
If not you, who . . . is going to make a difference?