A new study has taken a close look at any disparities in the U.S. education system along the fault lines of race and learning disabilities. While some of what the 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection revealed was positive, a vast majority of it raised concerns over common education practices. The study took a sample size of 50,035,744 students from 95,507 schools from 16,758 school districts for their data.
Among it’s findings, the study revealed that black students are disproportionately disciplined in schools and are less likely to receive a quality education when in schools with higher black populations.
For example, black pre-schoolers are 3.6 times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension and black students overall make up 39 percent of the 2.8 million students that receive multiple out-of-school suspensions in a school-year. While representing only around 20 percent of the preschool population, black boys and girls are respectively 45 and 54 percent as likely to be suspended.
Black students are also 2.3 more likely to “receive a referral to law enforcement or be subject to a school-related arrest as white students,” according to the survey. In connection to this, a higher number of schools have introduced law enforcement officers into their facilities, including 24 percent of elementary schools, 42 percent of high schools and 51 percent of high schools with high black and Latino populations.
- Lastly, the disparity of classes made available to black and Latino students and English learners is disheartening:
- Only 33 percent of schools with high black and Latino populations offer Calculus
- Only 48 percent of schools with black and latino populations offer Physics
- Black and Latino students are only 21% of the students enrolled in Calculus
- Only 29 percent of Black and Latino students are enrolled in AP classes while they represent 38 percent of enrollment in schools that offer them
- English learners represent 5 percent of the student populations in schools that offer Calculus, but only 1 percent f the students learning it
- English learners are also 5 percent of school enrollment but twice as likely to be held back at least one year and 20 percent of them are chronically absent
U.S. Education Secretary John King was notified of the information on the report and expressed his disappointment to USA Today.
“It’s very worrisome that we have 13% of our students who are chronically absent,” he said. “Even the best teacher can’t be successful if students aren’t in class, and so we’ve got work to do as a country on this issue.”
“When we deny some students access to a high-quality education, we all lose out in multiple ways,” he continued, while speaking on the country’s “systemic failure” to educate all students equally.
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