The impact of education on cities is significant – affecting economic vitality, public safety, health, and quality of life. Research shows that society benefits by approximately $127,000 for each new high school graduate due to additional taxes paid and money saved on crime-related costs. A college graduate makes $1 million more during the course of his or her career than a high school graduate.
In order to ensure that young people are prepared to be productive citizens in the 21st century and competitive in the global marketplace, the problems of low expectations, low high school graduation rates, truancy, a lack of compelling and engaging school options, and persistent achievement gaps must be addressed. Unfortunately, these problems are often worse in African American and low-income communities. The results have been tragic:
- By the age of 4, poor children will hear 32 million less words than their counterparts.
- In 2013, 4 out of 5 African American 4th graders weren’t reading on grade level.
- African American males represent only 5% of the college population, but 35% of the prison population.
A state and its cities have a responsibility to care for its citizens. Central to this responsibility is a moral obligation to provide every child with access to a high quality education regardless of their zip code. When the data shows us that every child is not receiving a high quality education – and worse, that children from some communities are deprived of a high quality education more frequently than others – STAND UP endeavors to answer one question:
Is education the civil rights issue of our time?