Low net worth means low performing schools
By Kevin Palmer
In Augusta, Georgia there will be no realistic Richmond County school district turnaround unless there is a noticeable increase in Black family net worth. According to the Pew Research Center, “The median wealth of white households was $171,000. That’s 10 times the wealth of Bblack households ($17,000).” Studies show the net worth of families is a major factor in school district success or failure. Families with financial stability are able to provide children with the resources needed to be successful students.
Therefore, it should be no surprise the Richmond County school district, with a 74% Black student population, has a College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) of 64.5%, which equates to a D grade. Nor, should it be a surprise the Columbia County school district, with a 60% White student population, has a CCRPI of 81.7%, which equates to a B grade. The disparity means a higher net worth gives Whites a huge advantage over Blacks.
Even Black families with a respectable net worth are in a better position to prepare their children to be just as successful academically as white children. For example, the Richmond County Technical Career Magnet High School has a 79% Black student population. The school has an A grade with a 98.8% graduation rate. By comparison, Greenbrier High School, in Colum-bia County, has a 73% White student population. It has an A grade with a 98.7% graduation rate. Unfortunately, Richmond County magnet schools are like tiny Band-Aids attempting to cover a gaping wound. They benefit the few, while the many flounder in low performing schools.
Therefore, now is the time to heed the advice of Malcolm X who said, “It’s time to stop singing and start swinging.” In other words, it’s time for all Black organizations in Augusta, Georgia to unite their resources behind the goal of helping Black children succeed in school.