The Deep Magic of Jesus, Narnia and Urban Education

See Minding the Education Gap, from Miller-McCune on May 18.

He points out what we already know… that there is a large, and growing, education gap between whites / asians and blacks / hispanics. Thirty-two percent of whites and asians have college degrees while only 15% of blacks and hispanics do – a larger disparity than a decade ago.

However, he points out another trend that is important to understand, “Non-whites are expected to outnumber white Americans by 2042, and among the under-18 population in the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, they already do. At the same time, good-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree are dwindling, as the country transitions away from manufacturing jobs that once supported the middle class into an ever-more high-tech economy.Taken together, these trends suggest a mismatch between the future American workforce and the type of work a country must produce to stay competitive in the global economy. Educational disparities are growing at a time when the population of those less likely to be educated is growing, and as the proportion of jobs requiring higher education is growing, too.”

The result of a growing U.S. percentage of a lower educated population is that “If we do nothing to close the (education) gap, we’ll wind up with an economy that matches our less-educated workforce.”

Something has to give, as he puts it. He proposes three solutions to maintain a US global competitive advantage and sustain a large US middle class: (1) change the structural direction of the US economy so that it can financially support a growing non-college degreed population; (2) reverse the population growth trends of the nation; or (3) CLOSE the education gap. It goes without saying that only option #3 is viable.

There are several takeaways to this article and issue. First, and most obvious, but as a reminder, this is the SINGLE GREATEST SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUE in America today.

Second, and very important to get, is this: the situation is so desperate and the education bar is so low in high poverty areas that real and meaningful gains can, should and WILL be made. The significance of these gains, I believe, will be a creation of momentum that will draw the more hesitant and pessimistic into the battle. But for now we need the “first followers”… those who are drawn not to the progress but to the need. The first followers will be the ones that seem crazy to jump into “despair”. But soon, their hard plowing will produce fruit. And the sweetness of the fruit will attract a crowd, and a tipping point will have been reached.

Need is the new opportunity. Turning negatives into positives. Using the low bar to demonstrate huge gains to bring the masses. Taking advantage of dysfunction to bring progress. Just like the “deep magic” of Narnia… death being tricked to usher in life.

Just the way Jesus did it.

And so shall we.