Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity: In Education, Economics and Our Criminal Justice System

Oct 9, 2015

This report provides a framework for the development of policy in national and state legislation, at the school board level and inside the American Federation of Teachers itself. The report focuses on ways to end institutional racism and offers concrete steps to create schools where parents want to send their children; where students, particularly boys of color, are engaged; and where educators want to work.
  • Starting as early as preschool, Black male students are affected, disproportionately, by suspensions, expulsions, and zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools. Black students are also more likely to have their school discipline issues referred to local law enforcement.
  • Black males make up less than 5 percent of America's college students, and their graduation rates are roughly half of Black women. In 38 states and the District of Columbia, Black males have the lowest graduation rates.
  • Black men are disproportionately consigned to low-wage occupations, with 46 percent of the Black male workforce employed in the lowest-earning occupation fields.
  • Recommendations for equity in education include reducing suspension rates and breaking the school-to-prison pipeline for Black males; radically increasing the percentage of college- and career-ready Black males; and developing culturally competent educators, students, and education systems.
  • Equity in economics requires increasing access to educational opportunity, increasing access to and preparation for higher-paying jobs, and addressing inequities in taxation and revenue-generating policies.
  • Equity in criminal justice includes advocating for fair policing through greater transparency and accountability, as well as working to combat factors that lead to the mass incarceration of young Black males.