1 GOALS FOR THE COMMON GOOD: EXPLORING THE IMPACT OF EDUCATION A joit publicatio of Measure of America ad Uited Way. MEASUREOFAMERICA of the Social Sciece Research Coucil Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio 1
2 CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 2 INTRODUCTION 3 HEALTH: survive & thrive 4 Life Expectacy 4 Low Birthweight 5 Violet Crime: Murder 6 Obesity 6 FINANCIAL STABILITY: work & digity 7 Media Earigs 7 Poverty 8 Uemploymet 8 EDUCATION: kids achievemet 9 Childre s Readig Proficiecy 9 COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: civic participatio 11 Votig 11 Icarceratio 11 RECOMMENDATIONS 13 BIBLIOGRAPHY 15 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Sicere thaks to those whose efforts ad cotributios made this report possible. Sarah Burd-Sharps, Jeff Elder, Kriste Lewis, ad Eduardo Martis were its authors. Kare Bru, Jaewo Chug, Melissa Field, Tish McCutche, Jacque Miow, ad Rachel Perry provided ivaluable assistace. Measure of America is grateful to the Corad N. Hilto Foudatio ad the Social Sciece Research Coucil for their geerous support ad guidace. The Uited Way is grateful to the millios of idividuals, corporatios, labor uios, foudatios, ad commuity parters who geerously offer their time, talet ad support to our work. 2 Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio
3 INTRODUCTION Those who advocate for greater ivestmet i educatio ofte make the ecoomic argumet: more educatio leads to higher wages ad is critical for fiacial stability ad idepedece. They re right. Robust evidece supports the view that higher levels of educatioal attaimet are liked to higher icomes, less uemploymet, less poverty, ad less reliace o public assistace. WHERE TO FIND THE COMMON GOOD FORECASTER TM? < But educatio is about more tha just better jobs ad bigger paychecks, importat though they are i makig families ad idividuals more fiacially stable. More educatio is also liked to better physical ad metal health, loger lives, fewer crimes, less icarceratio, more votig, greater tolerace, ad brighter prospects for the ext geeratio. More educatio is good for idividuals who stay i school to ear their high school degree or who eter ad graduate college, but it is also good for all of us, payig big divideds i the form of icreased civic egagemet, greater eighborhood safety, ad a healthy, vibrat democracy. This report is a compaio piece to the olie Commo Good Forecaster TM, a joit product of Uited Way ad Measure of America. It takes a closer look at the te idicators featured o the Forecaster ad makes the case for why educatio matters to each of these critical areas. Life expectacy: O average, the more educatio people have, the loger they live. Low birthweight: Ifats bor to less-educated mothers are more likely to have low birthweight, which is associated with developmetal delays ad ifat death. Murder: A oe-year icrease i the average level of schoolig i a commuity is associated with a 30 percet decrease i the murder rate. Obesity: Obesity has icreased amog all Americas, yet the more educated are less likely to be overweight or obese. Icome: The media aual earigs of Americas 25 ad over who did ot complete high school are less tha $18,500, while those who completed high school typically ear early $26,000. College graduates ear $44,000 aually, ad those with graduate or professioal degrees typically ear $57,500. Poverty: Educatio is the sigle most importat factor i the determiatio of a perso s poverty status: almost 24 percet of the adult populatio without a high school diploma is poor, compared to 11 percet of those who are high school graduates ad oly 3.6 percet of college graduates. Uemploymet: The less educatio a perso has, the more likely he or she is to be uemployed. A high school dropout is four times more likely to be uemployed tha a college graduate. Childre s readig proficiecy: Amog eighth graders whose parets have less tha a high school educatio, 13 percet read proficietly (beyod a basic level), compared with 42 percet of their classmates whose parets have a college degree. Votig: I the 2004 presidetial electio, those with a college degree were 50 percet more likely to vote tha high school graduates, ad two ad a half times more likely to vote tha high school dropouts. Icarceratio: Nearly three-quarters of state imates did ot complete high school; fewer tha three percet completed college or more. Uited Way ad Measure of America joied forces i 2008 to icrease atioal mometum to improve our coutry s educatioal outcomes. We are fallig behid our peer atios ad leavig behid too may of our youg people. Both Uited Way ad Measure of America recogize that educatio is a basic buildig block for a good life ad share a cocer about the troublig disparities amog differet groups i terms of high school graduatio rates, which are a setiel for the health ad well-beig of a commuity. A high school diploma is the gateway to higher educatio, to etry-level jobs, ad to military service, ad, as such, is a critical step for ay youg perso. Both orgaizatios recogize the critical likage betwee the educatioal attaimet of commuity residets ad their health, fiacial stability, childre s academic performace, ad commuity ivolvemet. To that ed, Uited Way has declared three 10-year goals that lie at the itersectio of these importat issues. Oe of these goals is to cut i half the umber of studets who drop out of high schools. Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio 3
4 HEALTH: survive & thrive The value of educatio to idividuals ad to society goes far beyod icreased icome potetial. Higher educatioal attaimet is liked to a host of beeficial behaviors ad good health outcomes, icludig greater life expectacy overall as well as a larger percetage of years spet i good health ad with adequate mobility. Better educated people practice healthier behaviors, are more iformed cosumers of medical services, ad are more likely to adhere to treatmet regimes. More educatio is also associated with more robust metal health - greater persoal happiess, more stable family relatioships, more self-esteem ad self-awareess, a greater sese of self-determiatio, ad greater ability to adjust to chage. Better educated people are also more effective i supportig healthy outcomes for their childre. Life Expectacy Life expectacy i the U.S. is 77.8 years at birth, with great variatio by educatio, geder ad ethicity (see Table 1). Those who acquire educatio beyod high school have a average life expectacy that is seve years loger tha those whose educatio stops with high school (Meara, Richards, ad Cutler 2008); the lifespa gap betwee those two groups icreased 30 percet from 1990 to 2000 (Sigh ad Siahpush 2006). People with more educatio ted to ear more, ad thus have greater resources to pay for quality healthcare. I additio, more educated people behave i ways that help maitai health applyig critical thikig skills, adherig to treatmet regimes ad better maagig chroic coditios, usig ewer ad more effective drugs, ad sharig more resiliet outlook to cope with stress, avoid depressio ad hostility (Lleras-Muey 2005). Durig the first half of the 20th cetury, life expectacy skyrocketed almost 21 years, ad durig the secod half, it icreased early 9 more years (Molla ad Madas 2008). These gais mea more people face the degeerative ad chroic diseases associated with advaced age. Istead of just tryig to live loger, people ow focus o how to expad the portio of life without disease, without impairmet or fuctioal limitatio, without activity restrictio or hadicap, ad i good or better health. Educatio provides some protective advatage i livig loger ad i better health. For example, the latest modelig idicates that a 70-year old woma with at least 1 year of college educatio will sped 2.3 more years of her remaiig life i good or better health ad.8 fewer years i poor health tha her agemate without a college educatio (Molla ad Madas 2008). Ad educatio seems to predict loger life ad loger healthy life better tha race or ethic backgroud (Guralik et al 1993). Perceptio of oe s educatio is also importat. Beyod actual life expectacies, more educatio seems to brig a differet life outlook, such that a college-educated perso expects to live 4.3 years loger tha a 10th grade dropout (Mirowski ad Ross 2000). The top three causes of death claim fewer lives every year, cotiuig their log-term dowward tred heart disease sice 1980, cacer sice 1993, ad stroke sice 1958 (Hero et al, 2009). I terms of extedig life, practicig healthy behaviors (e.g. ot beig obese or a smoker, eatig well ad exercisig) is critical (see Table 2) so much so that the sharp spike i obesity threates to erode ceturylog gais i life expectacy. Havig good health care, adherig to physicia recommedatios, ad beig disability-free are liked to educatioal attaimet ad logevity. Some factors, such as crime, cocetrated poverty ad uemploymet, ad evirometal hazards, are difficult for idividuals to chage. But i the ed, as oe scietist said, we will all die; what determies how log ad how well we live is how adeptly we reduce...disease ad disability (Rogers 1995). TABLE 1: WHITES LIVE LONGER THAN AFRICAN AMERICANS, WOMEN LIVE LONGER THAN MEN (years) Geder Gap Racial Gap Source: Natioal Ceter for Health Statistics, TABLE 2: YEARS LOST DUE TO UNHEALTHY BEHAVIORS (life expectacy reductio i years compared to ormal weight o-smoker, 40 years old) Male Female Normal weight, o-smokig - - Overweight, o-smokig Obese, o-smokig Obese, smokig Source: Peeters et al Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio
5 Low Birthweight Birthweight is the strogest predictor of ifat survival or mortality. For years, socioecoomic status (educatio, icome, ad occupatioal status) has bee liked to birthweight ad ifat survival, ad may other factors are, i tur, iflueced by them. Ifats bor to less educated wome are more likely to die durig their first year (see Discussio Box), at least i part because the mothers have fewer resources to egotiate the health care system ad pay for health care. They also ted to reside i more stressful eviromets, egage i more risky behavior such as smokig ad drikig durig pregacy, ad lack kowledge regardig appropriate health practices for themselves ad their ifats. Most experts agree that preatal care ad its efficacy affect outcomes beyod birth. I the Uited States, race/ethicity ad poverty is a potet itersectio of disadvatage, such that Africa America ifats have low birthweights (ad also die withi the first year) at about twice the rate of white ifats (see Figure 1). A coudrum, however, is that Latio ifats have similarly low rates of low birthweight ad ifat mortality as white ifats, despite socioecoomic disadvatage o par with that of Africa Americas. Some have suggested the healthy-eatig habits of more recet immigrats help explai the gap, but much is still uexplaied. Promisig agles to uderstad the icidece of low birthweight have focused o the cumulative stresses of livig i very poor, segregated, ad ofte usafe eighborhoods. Oe oe study showed that oly 7 percet of whites lived i extreme poverty areas, whereas 39 percet of all poor Africa Americas ad 32 percet of all poor Latios did (Wilso 1987). The role of social support ad family etworks also plays a vital role, ofte varyig by cultural group. For example, amog births to Africa Americas who were poor i childhood, havig a live-i gradmother reduced the risk of low birthweight by 56 percet (Hollader 2005). Cigarette smokig is a importat risk for low birthweight ad ifat mortality. Less educated mothers are more likely to have smoked prior to ad durig pregacy ad are more likely to smoke heavily. Alcohol use ca also be damagig durig pregacy, ad babies bor to older wome who are heavier drikers are the most susceptible to fetal alcohol sydrome. The offsprig of teeage mothers ad mothers older tha 35 are more likely to be premature ad low birthweight. The percetage of births that were preterm was 12.8 percet i 2006 ad has bee icreasig steadily sice 1981 whe FIGURE 1: PERCENTAGE OF LOW BIRTHWEIGHT INFANTS BY RACE/ETHNICITY, 2006 All Origis Total Hispaic Mexica Puerto Rica Cuba Cetral ad South America Other ad Ukow Hispaic Total No-Hispaic No-Hispaic White No-Hispaic Black 0.0% 5.0% 10.0% 15.0% Source: Natioal Ceter for Health Statistics. it was 9.1 percet. For the most part, more educatio is related to lower rates of low birthweight; however, the rates start levelig out ad eve risig agai for older mothers who delay childrearig, perhaps due to schoolig, especially for those attaiig graduate degrees. Older mothers, who are more likely to use ifertility therapies, are more likely to have childre bor i multiples, preterm, or low birthweight. These childre face poorer health ad icreased chace of ifat death. I fact, 58 percet of all twis ad 95 percet of triplets are bor low birthweight (Marti et al, 2009). Discussio Box: Low Birthweight ad Ifat Mortality About three out of four of the deaths withi the first moth of life, ad about 60 percet of the deaths i the first year, occur amog low ad very low birthweight ifats. Very low birthweight babies are icreasigly likely to survive i the U.S., albeit with elevated risk of disabilities or developmetal delays. I 2006, 83 per 1,000 births were low ad very low birthweight babies, the highest i four decades, compared to slightly below 7 per 1,000 who die i their first year, the lowpoit of a cetury-log declie. 6.6% 7.0% 6.8% 7.1% 7.3% 8.3% 8.5% 8.7% 10.1% 14.0% Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio 5
6 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Violet Crime: Murder The Uited States belogs to a commuity of affluet, democratic atios with high levels of social ad ecoomic developmet. Yet i the area of violet crime, we stad out from our peers. Approximately 17,000 Americas died i 2006 from homicide, the fifteeth leadig cause of death overall, ad the sixth ad seveth leadig cause amog Africa Americas ad Latios, respectively. Premature death from homicides i the Uited States is more tha five times higher tha the average of atios i Wester Europe, the Nordic coutries, Australia, Caada, ad Japa. I fact, if the U.S. murder rate were the same as Japa s, the umber of murders recorded i 2003 would have bee more o the order of 1,500 rather tha 15,000. This high rate of violet crime is related to eighborhood ad school factors, family ad persoal circumstaces, ad the highest civilia-owed gu rate i the world (Small Arms Survey 2007). With high school dropouts over eight times as likely to be i jail or priso (from all crimes) tha those who complete high school (Bridgelad, DiIulio & Moriso 2006), there is clearly a role that a quality educatio, particularly through high school, ca play i decreasig crime ad violece i our society. Rigorous studies show a strog lik betwee more educatio ad reduced rates of violet crime (Locher 2004). A oe-year icrease i the average level of schoolig i a commuity is associated with almost a 30 percet decrease i the murder ad assault rates (Locher 2007), results which are particularly reliable through high school. Of course, oe importat reaso is that more school geerally brigs higher wages ad expaded job opportuities ad thus less icetive to egage i crimial activities. However, wages ad jobs are ot the ed of the FIGURE 2: OBESITY INCREASING AT EVERY EDUCATION LEVEL, (% of adults 18 ad older) LESS THAN HIGH SCHOOL SOME COLLEGE OR ASSOCIATE S DEGREE HIGH SCHOOL OR GED BACHELOR S DEGREE OR MORE Source: CDC, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillace System, story. Classrooms help istill values that oppose crimiality ad socialize studets to become better citizes. I may cases, schoolig may also teach patiece, reduce tolerace for risk-takig, ad provide a supervised eviromet that tempers egative iteractio amog youg people. Ad fially, youth who leave school early risk beig iflueced by a more egative set of peers, while those who stay are more likely to build a costructive social etwork ad set off o a path toward productive work experieces. The physical ad emotioal scars to families due to violet crime ru deep; ad the price of reduced productivity ad decreasig property values i America commuities is steep. Compared to icarceratio, educatioal outlays are a far cheaper ad more productive ivestmet. Public costs for oe year i priso are $24,000, while public outlays to educate a K-12 studet are $9,000, o average. While additioal fudig for educatio does ot automatically guaratee decreased crime, the umbers poit to the tremedous potetial to expad youg people s choices ad opportuities while simultaeously buildig greater security i our commuities. Obesity I developed atios like the Uited States, educatio affects the likelihood of beig overweight or obese. I geeral, the higher the icome, educatio, or social status level, the lower the likelihood of beig overweight or obese (see Figure 2). Americas are becomig heavier; people of the same age ad educatio ow have much higher body mass idex levels tha their couterparts of eve te years ago. Severe obesity is more commo amog childre i less educated families, which are more likely to edure poverty. Although obesity rates have bee icreasig across the board, miority populatios are disproportioately affected, especially miority wome. Excessive weight has detrimetal health effects for both males ad females of all ages. Overweight adults i particular are at icreased risk for Type II diabetes, coroary heart disease, elevated blood pressure, stroke, respiratory problems, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apea, some types of cacer, ad premature death. Beyod direct physical effects, excess weight ca have social ad ecoomic ramificatios. Overweight adults ecouter lowered productivity ad higher health care outlays. Beig obese is associated with a aual cost of $395 more per perso more for ipatiet ad outpatiet care, compared to $230 for smokers ad $150 for drikers (Sturm 2002). Some data suggest that excessive weight has powerful effects o a woma s self-image ad ability to egage i school, reducig the likelihood some wome will eter college (Crosoe 2007), but ot so for me. Beig obese has also bee show to limit promotio for wome (Sobal 1991). 6 Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio
7 Curret theories behid the expadig waistlies of all developed atios, ad the U.S. i particular, are umerous. Idividual ad evirometal factors are both importat ad iclude: advaces i techology that reduce eergy expeded at work or at play; greater sedetary time, such as time watchig TV or usig a computer; the coveiece ad ubiquity of high-calorie processed foods; lack of fruit ad vegetable markets; large portio sizes both at home ad i restaurats; eighborhood crime forcig parets to keep childre idoors; ad less frequet exercise ad lack of access to exercise facilities (NIH 2004). May of these factors are especially prevalet i racial miority ad poor eighborhoods, helpig to explai their disproportioately high obesity rates. Oe study showed that movig families away from eighborhoods where oly eergy-dese, iexpesive but tasty foods are available ca lower obesity rates (HUD 2003). FINANCIAL STABILITY: work & digity Media Earigs Moey may ot be everythig but a decet icome is ecessary for a life that guaratees more choices, freedom, ad opportuity i the Uited States today. Ad gettig more educatio is the surest route to a higher icome. The media persoal earigs (icome geerated by labor) of Americas over 25 who did ot complete high school are less tha $18,500. Those who complete high school ear about 40 percet more, early $26,000. College graduates ear $44,000 aually, ad those with graduate or professioal degrees ear $57,500 to $99,300 respectively (U.S. Cesus Bureau, 2007). College graduates ca expect to ear, o average, early a millio dollars more over their lifetimes tha high school graduates (Cheesema 2002). Over the last thirty years, the iflatio-adjusted earigs of less educated workers have stagated or falle, while techological chage ad globalizatio have icreased the demad for ad wages of those with more educatio. Aother reaso for the earigs declie amog less educated Americas is a geeral drop i blue-collar maufacturig jobs, which oce afforded workers with high school degrees or less a middle-class lifestyle. Africa America me without high school degrees have bee particularly hard-hit, a sigificat problem give that oe i five Africa America me over 25 did ot complete high school. Figure 3 illustrates these disparities today i both wealth ad icome by household. The top 1 percet of households reap 20 percet of total icome, the top 10 percet just about 45 percet of icome, ad the bottom 60 percet of households less tha oe-quarter of icome. The right bar shows household wealth amog these same catego- FIGURE 3: DISTRIBUTION OF INCOME AND WEALTH BY HOUSEHOLD GROUPS, HOUSEHOLDS INCOME WEALTH 1% 20% 33.4% 9% 25.2% 38.1% 30% 32.5% 24.2% 60% 22.4% 4.2% Source: Wolff, Chages i Household Wealth i the 1980s ad 1990s i the U.S. i The Measure of America: America Huma Developmet Report Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio 7
8 FIGURE 4: MEDIAN NET WORTH, BY RACE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ries, idicatig eve greater disparities. The top 1 percet of households possesses 33.4 percet oe-third of America s wealth, ad the bottom 60 percet of households oly 4.2 percet of all wealth held by U.S. households. The more educatio people have, the more lifetime earigs they ca expect. Whites ca expect to ear approximately half a millio dollars more tha Africa Americas over a course of a lifetime, i additio to the other o-moetary beefits gaied through higher average levels of educatio. Asia Americas ear more ad have more educatio tha ay other racial or ethic group, ad Latios make the least. More tha 40 percet of Latios over 25 did ot complete high school (U.S. Cesus Bureau 2007). Sice 1982, more wome tha me have eared a bachelor s degree. Wome also have higher levels of high school completio. This chage has lead to a gradual closig i the earigs gap for youger me ad wome, with a ratio of.81 for ages verses.60 for ages Despite havig less educatio, America males still ear 50 percet more tha females, o average. Poverty More tha 38 millio Americas 13 percet of the populatio live below the official poverty lie, about $20,000 per year for a family of four. Educatio is the sigle most importat factor i the determiatio of a perso s poverty status: 24 percet of the adult populatio without a high school diploma is poor, compared to 11 percet of those who are high school graduates, ad 3.6 percet of those who have a four-year college degree. I other words, a adult without a high school educatio is two times more likely to live i poverty tha oe with a high school diploma, ad seve times more likely tha a college graduate (U.S. Cesus Bureau 2007) WHITE, NON-HISPANIC NONWHITE OR HISPANIC Source: Federal Reserve s Survey of Cosumer Fiace. From The Measure of America: America Huma Developmet Report Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio The official poverty lie is determied by icome. But poverty is more tha a lack of icome or a shortage of material goods, though they are certaily importat ad visible compoets of poverty. Poverty also implies a lack of digity, cotrol, ad freedom to make choices about how to live. A more comprehesive defiitio of beig poor meas that oe does ot have the basket of ecessities, both material goods ad a more amorphous combiatio of the educatio, health, social relatioships, ad skills that are required to participate fully i the ecoomic, political, ad social life of the coutry. Poverty ad low levels of educatio are mutually reiforcig. The early oe-i-five America childre livig i poverty face greater barriers to high school completio ad are sigificatly less likely to eter ad to graduate from college tha middle-class childre. Deep ad persistet poverty i the preschool years is associated with lower rates of high school completio. I 2006, youg people age 16 to 19 from poor families were about three times more likely to be out of school ad ot workig tha were their o-poor couterparts (NCES 2007). The U.S. is aloe amog affluet atios i fudig public educatio chiefly through local property taxes. The combiatio of local fudig for schools ad the existece of cocetrated poverty ad cocetrated affluece, ofte coicidig with racial ad ethic cocetratio, results i huge iequities i public educatio. I geeral, schools servig studets with the greatest eeds have the fewest resources. Schools i high-poverty eighborhoods ted to have less qualified ad experieced teachers; fewer special educatio aides, school psychologists, ad library staff; worse physical coditios i the schools; a more bare-boes curriculum, ofte with little physical educatio, art or music; ad lower levels of studet achievemet (Burd-Sharps et al. 2008). Racial disparities i poverty are stark, with the media level of assets for whites almost six times that of owhites (see Figure 4). The last half cetury has see a large icrease i sigle motherhood, particularly amog wome with less educatio. Beig bor to a sigle mother is the strogest predictor of child poverty. Uemploymet The less educatio a perso has, the more likely he or she is to be uemployed. I 2007, 10 percet of workig-age adults 25 ad older without a high school diploma were uemployed, compared to 6.4 percet of those who had completed high school ad 2.7 percet of those who had at least a bachelor s degree. A high school dropout is four times more likely to be uemployed tha a college graduate (U.S. Cesus Bureau 2007).
9 EDUCATION: kid s achievemet The recet ecoomic dowtur shows that although eve high levels of educatio caot ioculate workers from job loss, more educatio does decrease the likelihood of uemploymet. Labor Departmet figures show that over the course of 2008, the uemploymet rate for college graduates icreased less tha oe percetage poit, while the uemploymet rate for those without high school degrees grew three times as much, from 7.6 percet to 10.5 percet. Youg people who have dropped out of high school have a difficult time eterig the job market. Oly about half of dropouts were i the labor force i October 2006, ad of those, about a quarter were ot actually employed but rather were lookig for work. I 2006, 4.5 millio youg people ages were ot i school, ot workig, ad had ot graduated from high school (NCES 2007). These discoected youth are cut off from the maistream of school ad work ihabited by their peers, makig for a potetially rocky ad iauspicious trasitio to adulthood. Africa America me face particularly formidable obstacles to labor force participatio. Research shows that they are the group most likely to become discoected from school ad work. More tha oe third of youg black me today drop out of high school, with rates higher still amog those livig i cetral cities. Eve etry-level jobs icreasigly require ot oly a high school degree, but additioal workplace skills, ad the racial gaps i academic achievemet remai large. A crimial record has sigificat ad lastig effects o a perso s ability to get a job icarceratio rates are high amog youg black me such that oe i eight are behid bars o ay give day. Africa America me are more likely to live i cetral cities, far from more suburba areas where better-payig jobs have icreasigly located, ad less likely to have access to iformal etworks that provide iformatio about ad cotacts to such jobs. Cotiuig employer discrimiatio agaist youg black me is well documeted (Holzer 2007). Research shows that labor force participatio is importat for reasos that go well beyod earig a paycheck; employmet matters for social iclusio, physical health, ad psychological well-beig. Losig a job udermies metal health, as it represets ot just a loss of icome, but also a loss of idetity, status, structure, ad social support. Parets lead their childre dow dramatically differet pathways based partly o their ow circumstaces ad partly o choices they make. Teachig childre the value of learig ad readig to ope up ew worlds is a critical paretal role that ca help to couter some of the forces pullig childre away from a healthy developmetal trajectory. Childre s Readig Proficiecy Readig is a essetial gateway for childre o the path to success i school ad later i the workplace. It is the mechaism through which may other vital life skills are acquired ad improved. Graduatig from high school ca be predicted reasoably well by the level of readig skills at the ed of grade 3 (Slavi et al 1994). Childre lear to read through may iflueces, amog which are their parets, families, frieds, eighborhoods, social etworks, day care arragemets, ad schools. Readig to childre eve before they ca hold a book o their ow is oe of the smartest choices parets ad caregivers ca make. Speakig to a 8-moth old ifat improves her vocabulary at age three (Hart ad Risley 1995). Still, i 2005, more tha oe-third of pre-k 3 to 5-year-olds were ot read to more tha three times a week by their parets i particular, those parets who had ot graduated from high school, 37 percet, ad those who did ot speak Eglish, 35 percet (ECPP Survey 2005). I families where at least oe paret had more tha a high school degree, five percet of childre were ever read to, compared to 10 percet of childre from households with at least oe high school graduate paret ad 16 percet for those households where o adult was a high school graduate. While lower socioecoomic status, a amalgam of aual icome level, job status, ad educatio, is oe of the biggest factors ifluecig child success i school ad later life, this does ot prevet ethusiastic parets from ay backgroud from helpig their kids excel (see Table 3). I oe study, 15-year-old studets whose parets were at the lowest socioecoomic level but read regularly ad felt good about it, were better readers tha those from well-off families who were less egaged i readig (OECD, 2002). Higher levels of paretal educatio are liked to higher readig scores i middle school. Oe study trackig childre over time from ages 6 to 14 foud that the differece o a basic readig skills test betwee childre of parets with less tha a high school educatio ad those with a high school educatio was 7.7 percetile poits i 4th grade ad opeed up to 9.4 poits by the eighth grade (Boardma et al 2002). Facig struggles o may frots, childre of parets with less tha a high school educatio fid themselves fallig further behid with every year. Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio 9
10 FIGURE 5: PERCENTAGE OF 8TH GRADERS PROFICIENT IN READING BY PARENT S HIGHEST EDUCATION LEVEL, % 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 12% 19% 32% 42% Readig well ad ofte is associated with a fuller life. Readers are more likely to go to museums ad atted cultural evets, egage i civic life from readig ewspapers to voluteerig, ad egage i active life from exercise ad sports to other outdoor activities (see Figure 5). I short, it may be true that readers have more fu i additio to beig healthier ad more successful. Note: Proficiet eighth-grade readers show a overall uderstadig of the text, icludig iferetial as well as literal iformatio..., exted ideas by makig clear ifereces..., drawig coclusios, ad... makig coectios to their ow experieces... Natioal Associatio of Educatio Progress. 0% Less tha High School/GED Some College or Bachelor s Degree High School Associate s Degree or More Source: Natioal Assessmet of Educatioal Progress. Note: A group of studets did ot report paretal educatio, of whom 13% were proficiet. TABLE 3: INDIVIDUAL AND COMMUNITY BENEFITS TO A READING CITIZENRY, ADULTS Prose Literacy Skills Level Proficiet Basic Below Basic Percetage who said their readig skills limited their job opportuities a lot 4% 38% 70% Percetage who voted i the 2000 presidetial electio 84% 62% 53% Percetage who voluteered 57% 31% 18% Percetage who got o iformatio about curret evets, public affairs, ad the govermet from various media sources: Newspapers 7% 12% 29% Iteret 16% 53% 77% Source: Natioal Ceter for Educatio Statistics, Note: Although the literacy levels share commo ames with the Natioal Assessmet of Educatioal Progress (NAEP) levels, they do ot correspod to the NAEP levels. Fid out more: 10 Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio
11 COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: civic participatio Votig The 2008 Presidetial electio broke all records o voter turout, provig that whe the electorate is excited, they do go to the polls. What other more durable factors ifluece voter turout? There is a robust relatioship betwee a educated electorate ad the quality of our democracy. Studies over time have show that more educatio i the U.S., ad i may other coutries, is associated with icreased civic participatio. Ad this icreased civic participatio, i tur, stregthes commuity cohesio, improves the efficiecy of our society, ad builds a stable democracy. Oe importat meas of commuity ivolvemet is votig. While it is always variable from perso to perso ad place to place, the data are clear: the more educated vote more, ad votig icreases steadily with additioal years of educatio up through a bachelor s degree. Oe rigorous study over the secod half of the 20th cetury (see Milliga et al, 2003) foud that, o average, while just over half of high school dropouts i the U.S. reported havig voted, the rate for high school graduates jumped to 67 percet, for those with some college to early three-quarters, ad 84 percet for college graduates (Figure 6 shows votig rates by educatio for the 2004 presidetial electios). Educatio is also cetral to other importat forms of civic participatio. For example, while early half of people with bachelor s degrees voluteer may hours i their commuities, just over oe-fifth of those with a high school diploma are voluteerig (Baum ad Payea 2004). Such skewed participatio i our democratic process meas we lose the voice of some who eed public policy solutios ad forms of support for the challeges they face. Why are better-educated people more likely to exercise their civic resposibility? Votig requires ot oly goig to the polls, but also learig about the issues ad the cadidates. Schoolig istills greater acceptace of free speech ad democratic values, more uderstadig of the issues o which we vote, ad icreased cofidece i our ability to select able leaders. More educated citizes are, o average, more likely to pay attetio to public affairs, to discuss politics ad to work o commuity issues (Milliga et al, 2006). Equippig all people with the tools to cotribute to our democratic decisio-makig processes helps to esure we uleash the potetial talets of ad respod to the differet eeds i our diverse society. FIGURE 6: VOTING RATES BY EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT OF POPULATION 18 AND OVER. (2004 presidetial electios) 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Icarceratio While prisos are oe importat prog of ay state or commuity s public safety strategy, U.S. icarceratio rates are higher tha those of ay coutry i the world, icludig Chia ad Russia. About 2,000 people with crimial records are released from priso i America every day, accordig to the Departmet of Justice, ad two-thirds of them will evetually ed up back behid bars. Our curret system has failed to prepare the majority of prisoers for a stable, law-abidig life o the outside. A startlig statistic uderscores the improtace of makig high school ad college more attractive tha crime: While about 16 percet of America youth, o average, do ot complete high school each year, early 75 percet of state imates had ot doe so at the time of FIGURE 7: INCARCERATION RATES BY EDUCATION LEVEL 2% 1.5% 1% 30% Less tha High School/GED Some College or Bachelor s Degree High School Associate s Degree or More Source: U.S. Cesus Bureau ad authors calculatios. 1.9% 52% 1.2% 66% 74% 0.5% 0% Less tha High School/GED Some College or Bachelor s Degree High School Associate s Degree or More Source: Baum ad Payea (2004). 0.3% 0.1% Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio 11
12 imprisomet. Ad fewer tha 3 percet had completed college. (See Figure 7 below for icarceratio rates by educatio level.) What is the lik betwee educatio ad the likelihood of imprisomet? Lack of educatio ad skills is closely associated with fewer work opportuities ad lower wages, which i tur ca traslate ito fewer disicetives for committig a crime. Schoolig ca help to istill values that reject crimial behavior ad teach tolerace ad good citizeship while providig a supervised eviromet. Particularly for youg me i high school, stayig i school ofte meas their peers are more likely to be i school as well. Research shows that: High school graduatio reduces the probability of icarceratio i me ages by 3-4 percet for white males ad 8-9 percet for Africa America males (Locher ad Moretti 2004). Of males who graduated from high school ad wet o to atted some college, oly 5 percet of Africa America males ad 1 percet of white males were icarcerated i 2000 (Raphael 2004). A 5 percet icrease i the male high school graduatio rate would lead to icarceratio-related savigs of about $5 billio dollars each year (Alliace for Excellet Educatio 2006). The icarceratio rate has exploded sice the early 1980s, ad youg Africa America males have bore the brut of tougher crime-fightig measures. If curret icarceratio rates cotiue, early oe out of every three Africa America males will sped some portio of their lives i state or federal priso. (Heckma et al 2007). I low-icome miority commuities, crimial justice system ivolvemet is so pervasive as to be a ormative life experiece. I fact, the Millio Dollar Block project has foud, usig official crimial justice data, that we are spedig more tha a millio dollars each year to icarcerate residets of sigle city blocks. The pricipal govermet istitutio i these commuities is the crimial justice system, crowdig public reveue for all the other critical ivestmets eeded for those commuities to thrive. Reducig the dropout rate ad ivestig i a quality educatio for all childre is moey well spet. 12 Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio
13 RECOMMENDATIONS To cut i half the umber of high school dropouts i the ext 10 years, we have to start log before school does. We kow high school dropouts are more tha 12 years i the makig. They usually start school behid, ad research shows that most ever catch up. Tacklig high school dropout rates meas reversig these grim statistics: 46 percet of childre start school without the literacy, social, emotioal ad itellectual capacity they eed to succeed (Zill ad West 2001) 67 percet of fourth-graders caot read proficietly (NAEP 2007) 25 percet of high school studets fail to graduate o time (Platy et al 2008) 15 percet of youg adults are either workig or attedig school (Uited Way of America 2007) That s why the etire educatio cotiuum from birth through 21 must be i our sightlie if we are to move the eedle o high school graduatio. HOW WE CAN ACHIEVE OUR EDUCATION GOALS How ca we move the eedle o educatio? This theory of chage is built o a view that focusig o outcomes ad goals should defie ad lead the work. This meas drawig o the stregth of existig parterships, relatioships, ad good ideas already uderway. Sustaied ivestmet ad actio do ot happe i a vacuum. Supportive commuities, effective schools, ad strog families must be i place, alog with strategies rooted i research, such as: Hoig i o laguage ad literacy skill-buildig, startig at birth Egagig voluteers, icludig metors ad tutors, especially i the early years Pursuig ew strategies to brig parets ad families i as full parters i improvig educatio opportuities for their childre Beig alert to early warig sigs (e.g. chroic abseteeism i early grades), with actio plas i place Buildig strog public-private parterships that help galvaize multiple sectors behid reform Focusig commuity leaders from all sectors aroud research-based ad prove strategies Isistig o data-drive plas ad evaluatio ad takig full advatage of ew data systems that track idividual studets from kidergarte through high school ad beyod Shapig legislative policies, programs ad budgets at local, state ad atioal levels. Visit Uited Way s Web site for a overview of Uited Way s Educatio Actio Pla, ideas for how you ca get ivolved to improve educatio, ad research, ad strategies for how to tackle commuity educatio challeges. HOW EDUCATION WE CAN ACHIEVE OUR EDUCATION GOALS Egage commuities ad voluteers SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITIES EFFECTIVE SCHOOLS Data-drive plas ad evaulatios Create strog policy ad parterships Build lastig solutios Ivolve metors ad tutors Address early drop out sigs Egage parets Develop laguage ad literacy STRONG FAMILIES Develop social, emotioal, ad itellectual skills Support childre wherever they are Results: Start school ready Read o track at grade 4 Middle school success Graduate high school Work or school by 21 CONTINUED SUPPORT, FOCUS AND ENGAGEMENT Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio 13
14 POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS Federal ad state fudig streams have a large effect o our daily lives ad partially defie the focus of efforts to improve educatio. It is importat that the right legislatio be passed to maximize the chaces we ca deliver o goals for youg people today ad for healthy, fiacially stable, ad vibrat commuities i the future. The followig policy recommedatios are our best bets to esure quality educatio for childre ad youth alog the cotiuum of educatio: l l Policies to provide access to quality learig begiig at birth, icludig (but ot limited to): Expad Early Head Start, Head Start, ad Pre-K programs Icetivize ad/or establish programs for ifat ad toddler home visitatio Support Family, Fried, ad Neighbor Care to esure quality ad cosistecy Policies to icrease paretal ad commuity ivolvemet i educatio, icludig (but ot limited to): Support Commuity Schools as ceters of commuity activity to better leverage existig commuity resources ad parterships Provide icetives for the developmet of coalitios ad parterships amog local educatioal agecies, oprofits, the busiess commuity, ad families Implemet the commuity-based, itegrated studet services model to address both academic ad o-academic barriers to learig l l l l Policies to icrease middle ad high school retetio ad reerollmet, icludig (but ot limited to): Moderize K-12 educatio to teach twety-first cetury skills ad cotet Develop supplemetal supports for youth i disadvataged populatios Address disparities i educatioal quality Icrease opportuity for academic re-etry ad high school completio Policies to esure quality ad support of out-ofschool-time programs: Support 21st Cetury Learig Ceters ad Supplemetal Educatioal Services Support quality metorig programs Icrease traiig for ad ivestmet i the after-school workforce Expad the defiitio of out-of-school-time to recogize the importace of ights, weekeds, ad summers Policies to maitai ad icrease ivestmet i early childhood, elemetary, ad secodary educatio Policies to adopt a uiform, broad-based accoutability framework ad ecessary logitudial data systems from birth through post secodary educatio Visit Uited Way s Web site for a overview of Uited Way s stace o educatio policies. The take actio by callig your elected officials to express support for the policies metioed above. (http://capwiz.com/uitedway/issues/bills/) 14 Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio
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Sturm, Rolad. The Effects Of Obesity, Smokig, Ad Drikig O Medical Problems Ad Costs. Health Affairs, vol. 21. (2002), pp Uited Way of America. Populatio Referece Bureau calculatio of data from the 2006 America Commuity Survey U.S. Cesus Bureau. America Fact- Fider. Selected Characteristics of People at Specified Levels of Poverty i the Past 12 Moths. Data Set: , America Commuity Survey 3-Year Estimates, Survey: America Commuity Survey. U.S. Cesus Bureau Votig ad Registratio i the Electio of November populatio/www/socdemo/votig.html (accessed April 20, 2009). U.S. Departmet of Educatio, Natioal Ceter for Educatio Statistics, Treds i Udergraduate Persistece ad Completio U.S. Departmet of Housig, Urba Developmet Office of Policy Developmet, ad Research. Movig to Opportuity for Fair Housig Demostratio Program: Iterim Impacts Evaluatio. September Wilso, William Julius. More Tha Just Race: Beig Black ad Poor i the Ier City. New York: W.W. Norto Wilso, William Julius. 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16 Uited Way, a global etwork of early 1,300 local orgaizatios, is dedicated to achievig log-lastig commuity chage by addressig the uderlyig causes of the most sigificat local issues. Uited Way focuses o three key buildig blocks of a good life: health, educatio ad icome. The Uited Way is grateful to the millios of idividuals, corporatios ad foudatios who offer their geerous time, talet ad support every year. Measure of America works to stimulate factbased public debate about ad political attetio to issues that affect people s well-beig ad access to opportuity. A hallmark of this work is the America Huma Developmet Idex, a measure that paits a portrait of Americas today ad empowers commuities with a tool to track progress i areas we all care about: health, educatio, ad stadard of livig. The Project is a iitiative of the Social Sciece Research Coucil ad is fuded by the Corad N. Hilto Foudatio. Copyright 2009 Measure of America 16 Goals for the Commo Good: Explorig the Impact of Educatio MEASUREOFAMERICA of the Social Sciece Research Coucil
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