Detroit: Quick Hits
- Racial inequality at Wayne State
If you thought education in Detroit couldn’t get any worse, think again. On top of shameful graduation rates and a $300+ million deficit for the city’s public school’s, Detroit’s largest higher educational institution is playing a part in perpetuating the area’s academic and economic inequality.
Less than one out of ten black students at Wayne State University graduates within six years of enrollment, while white students post a graduation rate more than four times higher, according to a new report from the Education Trust.
WSU has the highest graduation rate disparity between races of any public university in the country, the report found. Only 9.5 percent of black students graduate, compared to 43.5 percent of whites. Lawrence Technological University, meanwhile, posted the highest graduation rate gap in the country among private institutions: 39. 4 percent.
With six schools – both public and private – in the Top 25′s (public and private) for graduation rate gaps, Michigan leads the nation in racial inequality in higher education. A college degree is worth $450,000 of earning power, according to the College Board. And with both the city and state economies scuffling, that’s one hell of a stimulus package.
- Getting out of blue collar purgatory
You used to be able to “make it” in Detroit without a high school diploma…now you can’t. Detroit’s public education – or lack thereof – is one of the roots for the city’s current economic standing. You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again.
But what type of economic impact would an improved K-12 system really have?
Halving the number of dropouts among students of color in metro Detroit schools would increase earnings, investment and home and auto sales dramatically, according to a July report by the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Such a reduced dropout rate would produce 400 jobs in the local economy and boost the gross regional product by more than $72 million by the midpoint of the graduates’ careers, the report said. Furthermore, higher wages and increased spending would raise local and state tax revenue $7.1 million in an average year.
- Requiem for Detroit
In case you missed it when it first aired in March, check out Requiem for Detroit, a 75-minute special about the Motor City made by the BBC. It’s the same old story you’ve been reading for the last ten years – urban decline, post-production economy, yada yada yada – but the way in which it’s told is pure art.