Imagine the entire cohort of U.S. graduating high school students this year as a group of one thousand bright-eyed 18-year-olds: kids of every class and race, spanning the whole spectrum of talent, wealth and oppression. What should the goal of progressive politics be for them? Where should attention be focused?
Let’s look at our thousand more closely. 380 of them—overwhelmingly poorer and disproportionatelyblack, Latino, and male—will stop their school careers here. They’ll go directly into the workforce, where they’ll earn less and live worse than most of the rest of the group.
Another 190 of our original thousand will enroll in a two-year college. Just 55 of them will actually complete a two-year degree within six years. The other 135 will fail to get any qualification, and they will be at a particular disadvantage in the workforce.
You might think the left would focus their energy like a laser beam on the 570 out of every thousand graduating seniors who never enroll in a 4-year university in the first place. Racial minorities dominate this group, and their socio-economic results are terrible. If you’re actually concerned about social and racial justice, this is where you need to look.