Education levels have an extraordinary impact on future wages, with academic attainment standing in as a rough proxy for future wealth. A female African-American college graduate typically sees an increase of about $657,000 over the course of her lifetime as compared to a female African-American high school graduate, according to the report. Should she fail to graduate from high school, her financial outlook worsens considerably. In 2013, 43 percent of African American women without a high school diploma were living in poverty, compared to 29 percent with a high school diploma and just 9 percent with a bachelor's degree, U.S. Census data show. Helping African-American girls successfully complete high school, then, could stave off a lifetime of poverty for them and their families.
"There's this widespread misperception that girls—all girls—are successful in schools. Full stop," says Fatima Goss Graves, vice president for education and employment at the National Women's Law Center. "Much of this is fueled by not having data broken down by race and gender. Girls of color end up being invisible too often in these conversations." A close look at the data reveals that in 2010, one-third (34 percent) of African-American girls didn't graduate from high school on time. Only 18 percent of white female students and 22 percent of all female students could say the same. And African-American girls are more than twice as likely as whites to be held back a grade. - The Atlantic