Blacks Say Job Creation, Parental Engagement Are Keys to Success

About a fifth of those surveyed say "lack of parental" involvement is the biggest education issue for African-Americans today.

Posted: 04/04/2014 06:15 PM EDT

Subpar wages, racial discrimination and "lack of parental involvement" in education are just a few of the major issues troubling African-Americans today, according to a new poll.

Ebony magazine and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation recently released the findings of a telephone survey of 1,005 respondents. Almost 75 percent of those surveyed are concerned about income inequality.

"We have a lot of work to do in creating jobs and making sure that people of color receive the training and education needed to obtain those jobs," said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the foundation. 

"We believe the lack of employment is really critical and impacts a child's well-being and limits opportunities."

Tabron said that if racial inequities are addressed, the result would be a healthier, better educated, more diverse workforce and an overall boost to the economy, including an increase of almost $2 trillion in Black spending power. 

Additionally, the survey also revealed that:

74% think society isn’t doing enough to support young men and boys of color.

Almost two-thirds say they are better off financially than they were five years ago, but 82% are concerned that whites still make more than Blacks for doing the same jobs.

52% see the media portrayal of African-Americans as generally negative.

60% of respondents agree we are making progress in providing access to health care. Almost a third are concerned that their children are not getting a quality education.

44% said they knew someone who had committed suicide or was killed.

74% say efforts to reduce crime and violence in their neighborhood is losing ground or staying the same.

30% said “improving the economy and creating more jobs/good paying jobs” is a top issue of concern.

While nearly 9-out-of-10 respondents expressed high levels of satisfaction with improvements in health care access, public education and their lives in general, a large portion of the African-American population feels directly impacted by racism. Forty-four percent of respondents claimed that they "sometimes" face discrimination, whereas 14 percent said they face discrimination "very often."

Regarding education, about a fifth say "lack of parental" involvement is the biggest issue in education today, and it was the most frequently cited concern. Other concerns included "overcrowded classrooms" and  "funding differences among school districts" (both 17 percent) and the "quality of teachers" (16 percent).

Two months prior to the poll's release, President Obama kicked off "My Brother's Keeper" and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African-Americans, two education initiatives targeting young people of color. 

As one of the 10 major foundations collaborating with the White House for "My Brother's Keeper," the W.K. Kellogg Foundation currently funds a number of parental engagement initiatives nationwide and plans to provide more than $5 million in funding to similar programs over a three-year period.

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 (Photo: Tyler Edwards/Getty Images)

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