Martin Luther King Jr. said the Civil Rights Movement was a revolution—not a revolution to overthrow or “get out,” but rather to “get in.” Universal quality is a key feature of the civil rights struggle. To get in to the sameness that other Americans enjoyed, to enjoy a share in the opportunities that the American economy and education system could provide, was the request.
However, today, this request has not been filled. Nowhere is this dream more distant than in the realm of education. Not only is there an unequal and unfair disparity in the academic achievement of children based on race and income, this also creates an unfair and unequal set of opportunities. Education is a civil rights issue because of the lack of sameness and universal quality for all children. It is a justice issue because of the inherent marginalization from society that it fosters.
We invite you to explore EdGap.org, our national interactive map that displays the correlation between academic achievement in the US and the social marginalization of unemployment, income disparity, lower adult educational attainment and single-parent households.
In our nation’s largest urban centers, and particularly in Memphis, our education sector is incredibly segregated and incredibly unequal. The average ACT score in Memphis’ lowest performing communities is between 14 and 16, while the highest performing public schools average 23-26, and the leading private school students average above 28. ACT scores range from an approximate minimum of 11 to an average of 21 and a maximum of 36, which puts many Memphis students closer to the minimum possible score than the national average.
The EdGap map currently has college-readiness data for 27 states. You can look at any city in these 27 states and see visually the average ACT or SAT score for each public or charter high school overlaid on socioeconomic data. We hope you will use this tool to explore the geography of achievement and opportunity in Memphis and in your region of the country as well.Explore EdGap Map Now
Seven percent of students in Memphis schools are on track to graduate college ready across all four ACT subject areas.
By twelfth grade, minority students from low-income neighborhoods are typically four years behind their more affluent peers.
Only 1 in 10 students from low socioeconomic communities will graduate from college.
As our EdGap map demonstrates, there is a strong correlation between academic success and earned income. The cycle perpetuates as lower academic achievement contributes to higher unemployment rates, lower wages, and higher rates of single parenthood—each of which has the potential to lead to lower academic achievement in the next generation. The graphic shown here compares median earnings in Memphis by educational attainment to the federal poverty rate for a family of four ($24,300). For our school district where 25% of students do not graduate from high school and only 7% of students graduate fully prepared to enter and graduate from college, the likely future for 112,000 out of the 120,000 school age children in Memphis is one that does not adequately prepare them to raise families much above poverty.
We believe this to be both unfair and unacceptable. Join us as we seek to display Christian love expressed in equal education:Explore EdGap Map of Memphis
“I am a proud native Memphian. I love educating today’s youth because I do not believe I could do anything more significant with my life. Living in Memphis, Tennessee affords me the opportunity to live among various cultures and lifestyles.”
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