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New report: Minority students face harsher discipline, less opportunity

Minority students are more likely to face harsher punishment and are often taught by less experienced, lower-paid teachers, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) .  The findings are based on  a national survey of more than 72,000 schools across the country serving 85% of the nation’s students.

Officials say the data raises questions about educational inequities in how students are being both taught and disciplined in America’s classrooms.

“The undeniable truth is that the everyday educational experience for many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise.  It is our collective duty to change that,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a statement.

Among the key findings are:

  • Across all districts, African-American students are over 3½ times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.  Black students make up 18% of the students in the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) sample, but 35% of the students suspended once, and 39% of the students expelled.
  • Less than a third of high schools serving the most Hispanic and African-American students offer calculus and only 40% offer physics, impacting college and career readiness.
  • Teachers in high-minority schools were paid $2,251 less per year than their colleagues in teaching in low-minority schools in the same district.

The report also finds 57% of the suspensions in Wake County Public Schools involved African American students, while 25% of the total suspensions were white students.

In Charlotte Mecklenburg, African American students made up 44% of the enrollment, but represented 75% of the suspensions, based on the self-reported data from 2009-10.

You can find more details in the report on discipline, college and career readiness, student retention and teacher equity by clicking  here.

One Comment

  1. D.L. Chandler

    March 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Good to see actual focused data in a state’s school district. What I haven’t been able to determine, however, is if the survey takes a tally of how many parents are in the home of the children. I certainly had the “bad kid” tag slapped on me and part of it, I would say, had to do with my father not being in the home. I wrote about the possible link between father absence and this DOE finding here: http://thefatherfactor.blogspot.com/2012/03/father-absence-and-school-discipline.html — please comment if time permits.

    D.L. Chandler