See Article by Juan Williams in the WSJ. Excerpts:
"While 40% of white Americans age 25-29 held bachelor’s degrees in 2013, that distinction belonged to only 15% of Hispanics, and 20% of blacks. Another discouraging sign: The Atlantic magazine recently reported that the share of black undergraduates at top-ranked universities has stagnated at about 6% for the past 20 years."
"The root of this problem: Millions of black and Hispanic students in U.S. schools simply aren’t taught to read well enough to flourish academically."
"For example, according to a March report by Child Trends, based on 2015 data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 21% of Hispanic fourth-grade students were deemed “proficient” in reading."
"The situation is worse for African-Americans: A mere 18% were considered “proficient” in reading by fourth grade."
"Only 46% of white fourth-graders—and 35% of fourth-graders of all races—were judged “proficient” in reading in 2015."
"a series of math, science and reading tests given to 15-year-olds around the world, the U.S. placed 17th among the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in reading."
"The difference in reading levels between minority students in different states offers an important clue about why minority reading levels are lagging. Generally, states with the highest proportion of low-income minority students do the worst, according to Child Trends. And there is no question about the difference in poverty rates among children of different races. Poverty rates among black (37.1%) and Hispanic children (31.9%) are nearly three times the rate for white children (12.3%)."
"Another factor affecting poor performance among minority students is persistent segregation.
According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report, between 2000 and 2014 “the percentage of all K-12 public schools that had high percentages of poor and Black or Hispanic students grew from 9 to 16 percent,” noting that “75 to 100% of the students were Black or Hispanic and eligible for free or reduced-price lunch—a commonly used indicator of poverty.” The GAO report added: “These schools offered disproportionately fewer math, science, and college preparatory courses and had disproportionately higher rates of students who were held back in ninth grade, suspended, or expelled.”"
"That means adopting an attitude of urgency when it comes to saving a child’s education. Specifically, it requires cities and states to push past any union rules that protect underperforming schools and bad teachers. Urgency also means increasing options for parents, from magnet to charter schools. Embracing competition among schools is essential to heading off complacency based on a few positive signs."