Bringing Race for Results to the “Right” Audience

 By Emily McCord & Ben KafferlinThe Annie E. Casey Foundation’s (AECF) Kids Count report, “Race for Results,” discusses unfortunate problems for young people of color in America. These issues—along with the importance of addressing them—are not unknown to the political right. There is, however, aversion to discussing solutions, mostly due to the tendency of the political left to recommend programs that are expensive, ineffective, or involved excessive government intrusion.The condition of African, Latino, and Native American youth is a serious issue for the future of America. Conservatives should particularly pay attention to several recommendations coming out of the 2014 Race for Results report:1) Work to repeal present and historical government policies that disadvantage the poor and minoritiesThe federal government has an unfortunate history of oppressing minorities. While many are familiar with slavery, black codes, and Jim Crow laws, fewer are familiar with discrimination in housing laws, zoning regulation, eminent domain prejudices, the drug war, the justice system, and in allocation of education funds. For those on the right, such policies should be concerning, as they policies serve one-sided interests at the expense of those in need of help.By applying the unique tests mentioned in the AECF report—the OIS and Racial Equity Impact Assessment, for example— we are able to bring both sides together to help those disadvantaged by government policy.2) Offer young minority students alternate paths for graduation, credentials, and employmentThe report states:

“Graduation from high school is a minimum requirement to attain a post-secondary credential, often necessary for a good job in today’s economy . . . However, many students of color never reach this critical milestone . . . A mere 19 percent of Latino and American Indian youth have complete an associate’s degree or higher, with only a slightly larger share of African-American young adults (26 percent) achieving these same credentials.”

This is a problem, and those on the right have multiple answers, of which career and technical education, school vouchers, and ESAs are only a few. Conservatives are also more open to market innovation that could offer alternate education paths that are cost-effective and check unfair teachers or problematic curriculum. But we need to put our best effort into turning these good ideas into robust action.3) Traditional MarriageThe AECF report highlights the value of a traditional family arrangement as a contributor to minority student success, along with several other markers that speak across partisan lines: “Delaying childbearing until adulthood, living with a householder who has at least a high school diploma, living in a two-parent family and living in a family with income at or above 200 percent of the poverty line.”4) The AECF report is favorable to proponents of Zone legislationThe report states:

“… many children of color are growing up in communities where unemployment and crime are higher; schools are poorer; access to capital, fresh produce, transit and health care is more limited; exposure to environmental toxins is greater; and family supports and services are fewer. All of these circumstances prevent children from accessing the network of institutions and resources that make prosperity possible.”

Conservatives have long promoted the importance of community. When a community suffers, economic turmoil occurs: jobs disappear, investment halts, and youths’ access to opportunity is restricted.The Enterprise Zone—and derivations of Zones—provides a new approach to community revitalization. A Left-Right “zone” could be quite profitable to both sides of the political spectrum. Conservatives would, in all likelihood, be more willing to make concessions in regards to funding for social services if such services were paired with reduced tax rates, regulatory reform, increased school choice, or investment incentives for local businesses.The Clapham Group thanks and applauds the Annie E. Casey Foundation for the Race for Results report and their ongoing efforts to bring attention the disadvantaged. We hope this will lead to further productive discussions, policy solutions and reforms.