Sunday, October 09, 2022

What do GSS data say about the view that many blacks do not value education?


Some people argue that blacks do not perform academically as well as other groups because they lack a culture that places a high value on education. Is such a view supported by General Social Survey data? In 2021, respondents were asked, "Please show for each of these how important you think it is for getting ahead in life . . . c. Having a good education yourself?" Answers ranged from 'essential' to 'not important at all.' 

The table displayed below shows the distribution of responses for blacks (raceacs = 1) and non-blacks. 46.2% of blacks say education is essential, compared to only 31.8% of others. This contradicts the claim that African Americans do not value getting an education as others do. 

You might respond that blacks have been taught the importance of education, but many only pay lip service to the idea and have not internalized the attitude. If true, this points to the impotence of attempting to improve performance through teaching and stressing certain values.   

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