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Sharpton: Obama, Congress must act on failing education to stop a national crisis of black and white

Sharpton: Obama, Congress must act on failing education to stop a national crisis of black and white
Rev. Al Sharpton, NY Post | November 12, 2010

On the heels of President Obama’s self-professed “shellacking,” a renewed urgency for bipartisanship has emerged in Washington. One week later, a new study proves that the education gap between the races in the United States – specifically, the crisis facing young black men – remains as devastating as ever.

So why not immediately start working across party lines to rectify this, the greatest civil rights issue of our age?

“The nation’s young black males are in a state of crisis” is the opening sentence of the new study released on Tuesday by the Council of the Great City Schools. Emphasizing racial disparities beyond economic factors, the report highlights the catastrophic state of affairs facing an entire segment of the population.

Consider: Black children are twice as likely as whites to live in a home where no parent had full-time or year-round employment, and those aged 17 and younger are nearly 50% more likely to be without health insurance than white children.

Perhaps more striking is the fact that black boys drop out of high school at nearly twice the rate of white boys, and they compromised only 5% of all students in college in 2008 but were 36% of the total prison population.

This is a national calamity – which is arguably creating as large of a divide as institutionalized segregation ever did. Is the demise of the black man in effect a formula for the downfall of the entire race?  (Read more)