OK. By now most everyone knows that Kansas is the NCAA basketball champ. Certainly an exciting game that produced many interesting stories.

Here’s a story not directly connected to the tournament, but one that is interesting and important nonetheless. It concerns graduation rates of African-American athletes and students in general. And the numbers follow the release of information last week by America’s Promise Alliance that show that only 53 percent of African-American students in this country complete high school.

Ted Mitchell and Jonathan Schorr wrote in the Washington Post Sunday that “in addition to all the fast-paced excitement it brings, March Madness shines a light on one of the most troubling aspects of college sports: graduation rates of African American students, who make up most of the Division 1 athletic teams. But while the players’ high dropout rate gets much of the attention, non-athletes fare even worse.”

Mitchell and Schorr write:

A study of NCAA schools released last month by the University of Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport found that 53 percent of African American basketball players finish college — compared with a dismal 37 percent for black students overall at those schools.

But here is the key point in the article — concerning those who even make it to college:

The larger truth is that graduation is the last stop for an academic train whose passengers mostly disembark at earlier stations.

Corporate Voices for Working Families is a partner with America’s Promise Alliance – and this overall issue of workforce readiness is one of our continuing top priorities.

by Rob Jewell