North Carolina ranks 26th in the nation when it comes to racial equality in education, according to a report released Wednesday by WalletHub, a personal finance website.
WalletHub determined the rankings by comparing the difference between Black and whites in areas such as high school and college degrees, test scores and graduation rates.
Wyoming ranked No. 1 and Wisconsin ranked last.
Here’s what WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said about Wyoming:
“One reason Wyoming is the best state for racial equality in education is that there is only around a 1% difference between the share of white people and black people who have at least a high school degree, and less than a four percent difference in the share that have at least a bachelor’s degree. In addition to a high level of equality in degree earning, Wyoming has one of the smallest differences between the graduation rates of white students and black students in the nation.”
And here’s how Gonzalez explained Wisconsin’s ranking as the worst state for racial equality in education:
“Wisconsin ranks as the worst state for racial equality in education in part because it has some of the biggest discrepancies in test scores between white students and black students, with white students scoring much higher. “There is a 24 percent difference in the graduation rates of white students and black students in Wisconsin, favoring white students, too.”
Gonzalez noted that funding disparities between predominately white schools and those where most students are nonwhite drives racial inequality.
“One of the best ways to help reduce educational inequality is to make sure that all school districts receive similar funding regardless of the economic class or racial composition of their students. Currently, districts with high concentrations of minorities are often underfunded,” she said.
Increasing access to higher education for minorities in underserved, low-income communities by simplifying the application process for aid, increasing need-based aid and creating special savings programs for low-income families would also help level the playing field for children of color, Gonzalez said.
“If educational opportunities are equal for people of all races, this will create more opportunities for minorities to advance into areas in which they are currently underrepresented, such as executive positions in companies and politics,” she said. “Equal opportunity for higher education can provide more access to the scores of careers that require advanced degrees, too.”
She said equality in education can also contribute to better health, greater political participation and countless other benefits.
“Perhaps most importantly, a level playing field in the classroom may help reduce the income gap between white and Black Americans, provided that we also address pay discrimination in the workplace head on,” Gonzalez said.