The nation’s future economic well-being will considerably weaken unless it increases the percentage of minority students who graduate from high school to at least the level of their white peers, according to conservative calculations by the Alliance for Excellent Education in its new issue brief, Demography as Destiny: How America Can Build a Better Future, funded by MetLife Foundation.
In the brief, the Alliance projects that if the U.S. education system could raise minority high school graduation rates to the current level of whites, and if those new graduates go on to postsecondary education at similar rates, additional personal income would be more than $310.4 billion by 2020, yielding additional tax revenues and a considerably improved economic picture.
Nationwide, the growth of the non-white population is outpacing that of the overall population, resulting in a dramatic demographic shift already in progress that will continue in coming years. Because the graduation rates of African-American and Hispanic students, in particular, are lower than that of whites (56 percent of African-American students and 52 percent of Hispanic students graduate high school in the standard four years, compared to 78 percent of white students), the negative outcome of the demographic change will be a steadily rising percentage of Americans without high school diplomas if the situation goes unaddressed.
“It is undisputed that the population will grow dramatically in just a few years,” says Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “What’s also undisputed is that the success of our economy depends upon a quality education for all parts of that growing population.”
“MetLife Foundation is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion through access and opportunity,” says Sibyl Jacobson, president of MetLife Foundation. “Identifying the long-term economic and social advantages of schooling should spark reform efforts so all students see early-on just how vital they are to the future of this country.”
Demography as Destiny: How America Can Build a Better Future is available here. Increased income figures were estimated using population projections and earning estimates based on education levels of attainment by the U.S. Census.
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MetLife Foundation was founded in 1976 and supports programs that increase opportunities for young people to succeed, give students and teachers a voice in improving education, create connections between schools and communities, and strengthen relationships among parents, teachers, and students.
For more information about MetLife Foundation, please visit: www.metlife.org.
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington-based policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for postsecondary education and success in life.
For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit: www.all4ed.org.