WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Numerous individual, home, and community factors combine to support (or inhibit) individuals’ academic progress.[i] Factors beyond the quality of the local education system directly and indirectly affect a region’s average educational attainment. For example, economic conditions affect employment opportunities, which in turn affect the in- and out-migration rates of workers with different levels of education. The average educational attainment of a population summarizes the net impact of all of these factors and reflects a region’s success at developing a well-prepared workforce and an educated population. Educational attainment is correlated with an individual’s income and health, as well as with the financial security of his or her family.[ii] Across our region, disparities exist in educational attainment between neighborhoods and between racial and ethnic groups, and these disparities can persist from one generation to the next. In part, this may be because children living in neighborhoods with a higher percentage of adults with college degrees tend to have higher expectations for their own education and work prospects.[iii]
[i] S. Christenson, T. Rounds, and D. Gorney, “Family Factors and Student Achievement: An Avenue to Increase Student’s Success,” School Phycology Quarterly 7, no. 3 (1992): 178.
[ii] J. Day and E. Newburger, “The Big Payoff: Educational Attainment and Synthetic Estimates of Work-life Earnings,” US Census Bureau (2002), http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p23-210.pdf.
[iii] G. Orfield and C. Lee, “Brown at 50: King’s Dream or Plessy’s Nightmare?” Cambridge, MA: The Civil Rights Project, Harvard University (2004).