Many decades later, the nation continues to have highly-segregated schools, by both race and concentrated poverty. Many cities still see wide differences in the available funding, often drawn from property taxes, between schools in wealthy, predominantly white neighborhoods and those that server poorer students and predominantly students of color.
Adding to those differences are inequality of opportunity within those schools, with wide differences in measures such as access to gifted and talented programs, advanced courses and technology, both at school and in the home. And, beyond that, data from the last few years show that discipline continues to be administered unequally in most school buildings across the country, with Black students far more likely to lose school days to suspension than white students.
At even the youngest ages, researchers have found that educators, of all races, scrutinize the actions of students of color more than they do white students. In one such study by Yale University’s Child Study Center, researchers tracked the eyes of teachers monitoring the behaviors of preschool age students. They found educators spent more than half of their time watching Black children though they were a much smaller percentage of participating students. They were studying teachers’ perceptions to try to better understand why Black students make up less than 20% of classroom populations, but nearly half and sometimes more in certain schools of the students who are suspended and expelled.
The resources we’re sharing here include academic research, investigations by journalists and our ongoing news stories and investigations around the topic of unequal education.
Come back often as our journalists delve into the data about inequities in our cities and highlight potential solutions over the coming weeks and months. We’ll be adding the latest coverage here.
Our Investigations and News Reports
Dr. Paviella Foster is the Senior Director of Programs for Ignite, a Chicago-based organization serves young people experiencing homelessness in Chicago, and discusses with differences in funding, discipline and representation for students of color in city schools.
IN LOS ANGELES: Coronavirus pandemic exposing digital divide among LA students
Seventeen percent of families surveyed from South L.A., Watts and Boyle Heights reported no internet at home; 8% had mobile internet only. If those numbers are consistent throughout Southern California, thousands of young people are facing incredible academic hardship.
IN NORTH CAROLINA: The Racial Divide: Inequity in Education
ABC11 presented a 30-minute special that took an in-depth look at racial inequity in education; digital divide, which addresses the hardship in digital learning; food insecurities among economically disadvantaged students; and racial disparities surmounting in Latino communities. Historically, these issues have existed in communities of color, however, the special will examine how the pandemic has exacerbated these difficulties.
The success of remote online learning depends on a number of factors, including the availability of devices and high-speed internet access that allows video streaming. The digital divide refers to the difference in access to that technology. Youngmoo Kim of Drexel University said it is a very real concern in our area.
Resources for learning more about inequities in education
The Color of Discipline: Sources of Racial and Gender Disproportionality in School Punishment.. Skiba, R. Michael & A. Nardo, 2000. https://www.indiana.edu/safeschl/cod.pdf
Preschool Suspensions are Made Worse by Racial Disparities. A 2016 report by The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/06/13/preschool-suspensions-are-made-worse-by-racial-disparities/?utm_term=.833412488c13
Two Strikes: Race and the Disciplining of Young Children. A report by the American Bar Association. https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/events/youth_at_risk/Okonofua%20%20Eberhardt%20-%20Two%20Strikes%20-%20Race%20and%20the%20Disciplining%20of%20Young%20Students%20(1).authcheckdam.pdf
Civil Rights Data Collection, School Discipline. Summary report by the U.S. Department of Education about the civil rights data it collects from thousands of schools across the country every year. https://ocrdata.ed.gov/Downloads/CRDC-School-Discipline-Snapshot.pdf
The Groundwater Approach. A report by The Racial Equity Institute about its explanation of its Groundwater metaphor, which “is designed to help practitioners at all levels internalize the reality that we live in a racially structured society, and that that is what causes racial inequity.” https://www.racialequityinstitute.com/groundwaterapproach
The Racial Equity Institute. An alliance of organizers, leaders and trainers devoted to creating racially-equitable organizations and systems across the United States. The organization’s web site and blog include countless resources and opportunities to learn. https://www.racialequityinstitute.com
Breaking School Rules: A Statewide Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students’ success and Juvenile Justice Involvement . A research report from Texas A&M University. https://ppri.tamu.edu/files/Breaking_Schools_Rules.pdf
Divided No More: A Movement Approach to Educational Reform. A report by Parker Palmer in 1999. http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/events/afc99/articles/divided.pdf
Black and Latino students shut out of advanced courses. Report by The Education Trust. https://edtrust.org/press-release/black-and-latino-students-shut-out-of-advanced-coursework-opportunities/
Access to Success: Patterns of Advanced Placement Participation in U.S. High Schools. Report by the Educational Testing Service about the share of people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds who attend schools with access to AP classes. https://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/PIC-ACCESS.pdf