Education Department Data Shows Huge Racial Gap in Economic Literacy

The Nation's Report Card: Economics 2012The U.S. Department of Education reports a large racial gap in economic literacy as measured by results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Each year high school seniors are tested on their knowledge of the field of economics. The report from the Education Department states:

“Economic literacy is vital for functioning effectively in today’s society. Consumers need to manage their finances, investors need to plan for their future, and voters need to choose among competing economic plans. As students move on to college or enter the workforce, their understanding of the economy will help them become financially responsible citizens.”

The results show that nationwide 43 percent of high schools seniors were rated as proficient or advanced in understanding economic concepts. But a huge racial gap exists. For Whites, 53 percent of all high school seniors were rated proficient or advanced but only 17 percent of Black students scored at this level. Some 39 percent of Black students were rated as “Below Basic” compared to 11 percent of Whites.

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