The report — it’s here — finds that while the District has made strides in improving public education and has seen consequent drops in violent and property crimes over the last decade, continuing disparities in achievement have tracked closely with crime. In the District, the two poorest wards — 7 and 8 — have seen both the lowest level of educational attainment in the city and the most stubborn crime rates, with violent crime falling less dramatically than in other wards and property crimes increasing. Not surprisingly, the report says, youth of color are at the largest disadvantage, facing greater barriers to educational achievement and a higher chance of being involved in crime.
Looking forward, the group recommends that the District reverse its trend of spending more money on police and prisons than on education, parks and recreation centers. In the long run, it says, increasing the graduation rates for young men in the city could produce annual savings of over $66 million in crime-related spending. Some of the most important investments the District can make, it says, are on early-childhood education programs and on ensuring that kids stay in school. Additionally, more resources need to be targeted for where they are needed most — in short, schools in Wards 7 and 8.