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Blacks striving to move forward

4/23/2014, noon | Updated on 4/23/2014, noon

For many years the media have reported on the inadequacy of the academic performance of African Americans. Consequently, it seems incongruous to learn that school enrollment for blacks is greater than for whites.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey for October 2012, the percentage of whites from the age of three and up who are enrolled in school is 22.7. The percentage of blacks in that same population age group is 31.4. This is a substantial difference of 8.7 percent.

The significance of this data can be determined by reviewing the enrollment percentage in various age brackets. For example, 96.4 percent of whites 16 and 17 years old are enrolled in school, while this is true of only 94.2 percent of blacks. Perhaps the difference of 2.2 percent reflects a higher high school dropout rate for blacks.

Similarly, the enrollment rate for whites 18 to 24 years old is 1.9 percent higher than the rate for blacks. Perhaps a higher rate of college enrollment for that age group accounts for the difference. But among older blacks, enrollment in adult education is much higher. From the age of 25 on, a higher percentage of blacks than whites (2.5 percent higher) are enrolled in education; but the white population in that age group is so large (138,831,000) that its lower enrollment in adult education depresses the total result.

With such a rate of enrollment it is certainly unreasonable for conservatives to assert that blacks are just sitting back and waiting for handouts. Clearly, blacks are not indifferent to the value of education. The data indicates that blacks try to improve their level of education in their 40s and beyond at a rate even higher than that for whites. The quality of the country’s education resources ought to be improved and become accessible to such a willing national resource.