Group’s report frames issue through lens of what our state has to gain
Kudos to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. The group has powerfully reframed the approach to addressing racial disparities by focusing on what our state has to gain by ensuring that communities of color have the resources they need to prosper (“Closing racial wealth gap would pay off, report says,” Page A1, May 19). This positive framework must replace the dominant narrative that assumes that poor communities and communities of color are drags on society. Having this encouraging vision come from a middle-of-the-road organization is a pleasant surprise.
I will be working to adopt and spread this way of thinking so that we can build support for our state to invest in the success of its BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and poor communities. We have seen such strong leadership from these communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. What could they do if they had the resources they need?
Effort to raise college graduation rates has to start when kids are young
Congratulations to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation for quantifying how the state could significantly grow by closing the wealth gap with Black and Latino communities. In her article, Shirley Leung notes that a key finding in the report is that “if Black and Hispanic students in Massachusetts graduated from college at the same rate as their white peers, the increased economic activity could . . . grow to more than $20 billion over a decade.”
In order to achieve this, we must give disadvantaged kids the opportunity for a decent education that for decades we have struggled and failed to provide. This will require new ways of operating. Not only full-day kindergarten but also school choice with a voucher program for lower-income schoolchildren is critical if we are to make real headway against inequality in Massachusetts.
Free community college may be a great idea, but for many urban Black and Latino students, the stage for a lifetime of disadvantage has already been set long before college entrance. To not try major new approaches is a crime in which we all lose.
The writer is president and CEO of a management consultant firm.