Educational equity

State of Black America Report: Unequal Education Is Not ‘the Great Equalizer’

headshot of Marc Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League
Marc Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League
(Image: File)

Last year was one of remarkable job growth, but many have not seen their career, income or access to quality education grow at the same rate. Education and equality gaps have remained steady and the National Urban League understands that the major impediments to equality.

Education is the pillar to success, which is why the National Urban League launched the Put Our Children First campaign to educate parents about the values and benefits of common core state standards to help increase equity in education and ensure no matter what the family income, ethnicity, or neighborhood all student s receive the high quality education they deserve to and the skills necessary for success in college, work and life.

TheState of Black America — Save our Cities: Education, Jobs + Justice” forum presented by AT&T brought together thought leaders Marc. H. Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League, George Lambert, Jr. President & CEO, Greater Washington Urban League, David S. Huntley, Chief Compliance Officer, AT&T, Dr. Valerie Rawlston Wilson, Director Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Rce, Ethniicty, and the Economy, and the Honorable Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington, D.C. Each leader shared thought provoking insight and advice on how individuals and communities can work together to create change and close the educational gap that exist.

“Education is not the great automatic equalizer,” Morial said. According to the report, unemployment rates for college-educated African Americans were drastically higher compared with their white counterparts with the same level of education achieved.

With these deep educational disparities remaining, the National Urban League President & CEO highlighted that in some aspects, 2014 was a remarkable year. “The high school graduation rates for American students are the highest they’ve been in history, dropout rates are at historic lows and there are more students of color in college than ever before.”

Going into detail about the importance of technology in connecting students to information, David S. Huntley, chief compliance officer at AT&T, encouraged everyone to show youth how to take advantage of connectivity.

“It is critical today that you are connected,” says David S. Huntley. “Parents, educators, businesses, organization and individuals need to show kids how to use connectivity to change their lives. How it provides access to libraries of knowledge, information and resources that can open possibilities in the palm of their hand.”

The AT&T Aspire program has committed $350 million to help give every child high-quality education. The Aspire mentoring program is connecting thousands of  AT&T employees with thousands of underprivileged kids to help them before they drop out.

Another aspect the event focused on was that, as people are rediscovering cities, the affordability is changing. Focus on the health of our cities for everyone is critical. On average larger gaps are present in states with urban areas that are home to large minority populations that live in highly segregated neighborhoods.

“In Washington, D.C. and across the nation we are focused on closing these educational achievement gaps, ” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We must embark on serious education reform focused on seeing that our boys and young men of color are getting what they need from our schools so that can be productive and on a path to the middle class”

The report, the “State of Black America — Save our Cities: Education, Jobs + Justice” was released on Thursday morning during the event. To learn more about the report or to download, visit You can also access select data and report findings, Web series, press materials, infographics and charts, e-book purchase information, and year-round updates featuring new contributors.

Daron Pressley (@daronpressley) is an entrepreneur and former Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive who has been featured on outlets including Fox45 News, Black Enterprise magazine, and The Washington Post. Knowledgeable in marketing and branding, Pressley works with professional athletes, organizations, and individuals to develop strategies to create, build, and grow brands. As a speaker Pressley has reached over 20,000 students. He provides dynamic insights on leadership and branding via his Website,