2012 The Root 100

Harvard economist Roland Fryer Jr. is helping to address the U.S. racial education-achievement gap.

  • Influence: 134.7
  • Reach: 5.7
  • Substance: 7.5
  • Media Mentions: 122
  • Internet Mentions: 4450
  • Twitter Followers: 0
  • Roland Fryer Jr.

  • An economist who is doing groundbreaking work to address the U.S. racial education-achievement gap.
  • Job: Professor of economics at Harvard University
  • Sector: Entertainment/Media
  • Location: Concord, Mass.
  • Age: 35
  • Bio: Economist Roland Fryer Jr. uses his expertise to address inequalities in race and education. Fryer grew up in one of the toughest sections of Daytona Beach, Fla. Never satisfied with simply "making it out," he wanted to make a way for others, too, and he has dedicated his career to that mission. He was 30 when he became Harvard's youngest-ever African-American tenured professor. Fryer has been prolific in publishing papers on the racial achievement gap, the societal consequences of distinctively black names, affirmative action, the crack-cocaine epidemic, HCBUs and the notion of acting white. The faculty director of the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University, he identified five tenets that are being used to turn around several low-performing Houston public schools as a part of the Apollo 20 program. "We are absolutely wasting away our most precious resource, which is our children, K-12," Fryer said during a W.E.B. Du Bois Institute panel discussion in August 2012.Visit the Education Innovation Laboratory website.