Extensive Study Shows Pattern of Inequality along Racial Lines in Nation’s Public Schools!

Racial Discrimination Schools 2014

Dear Commons Community,

The  US Department of Education released data yesterday that show a pattern of racial discrimination in the nation’s public schools.  Key findings concluded  that racial minorities are more likely than white students to be suspended from school, to have less access to rigorous math and science classes, and to be taught by lower-paid teachers with less experience, according to the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.  As reported in the New York Times:

“In the first analysis in nearly 15 years of information from all of the country’s 97,000 public schools, the Education Department found a pattern of inequality on a number of fronts, with race as the dividing factor.

Black students are suspended and expelled at three times the rate of white students. A quarter of high schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino students do not offer any Algebra II courses, while a third of those schools do not have any chemistry classes. Black students are more than four times as likely as white students — and Latino students are twice as likely — to attend schools where one out of every five teachers does not meet all state teaching requirements…

One of the striking statistics to emerge from the data, based on information collected during the 2011-12 academic year, was that even as early as preschool, black students face harsher discipline than other students…

In high school, the study found that while more than 70 percent of white students attend schools that offer a full range of math and science courses — including algebra, biology, calculus, chemistry, geometry and physics — just over half of all black students have access to those courses. Just over two-thirds of Latinos attend schools with the full range of math and science courses, and less than half of American Indian and Native Alaskan students are able to enroll in as many high-level math and science courses as their white peers.”

These data confirm what many others have observed in individual school districts. Here in New York City, for example, as study conducted by Denise McNamara, concluded that  many of the new small high schools remodeled in the past decade in poorer, minority neighborhoods were built without wet laboratories and cannot offer any lab-based courses thereby dooming their students to high school careers devoid of meaningful science instruction in chemistry or biology.

This is a sad situation that the US DOE has done nothing about for decades.  It is almost as if there never was a Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court Decision in 1954.



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