According to a recent report, the achievement gap between white teenagers and their minority counterparts continues to widen, with Black and Latino students performing at levels equal to or lower than those of 30 years ago.

Minority students are actually performing better at the elementary and middle school levels than ever before. It’s when they get to high school that their performance begins to drop.

Black and Latino teenagers’ math and reading levels are reportedly the same as those of the average 13 year-old white student.

From the Huffington Post:

“‘We take kids that start [high school] a little behind and by the time they finish high school, they’re way behind,’ says Amy Wilkins, vice president for government affairs and communications at the Education Trust, a Washington-based educational advocacy group. ‘That’s the opposite of what American values say education is about. Education is supposed to level the playing field. And it does the opposite. . . .While many people are celebrating our postracial society . . . there is still a significant hangover in our schools.’

The Education Trust says African-American and Latino students have made little to no progress in 12th-grade reading scores since 1994, continuing to lag behind white students. Math achievement has also remained flat, with the gap between white students and those of color widening.

Educators cite these causes for the disparity in performance:

  • Lowered expectations for students of color
  • Growing income inequality and lack of resources in low-income school districts
  • Unequal access to experienced teachers
  • An increased number of “out of field” teachers instructing minority students in subjects outside their area of expertise
  • Unconscious bias” by teachers and administrators.
  • These factors, experts say, produce an opportunity gap for students of color”

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