In a revealing report from the U.S. Department of Education, statistics on education disparities bring into sharp focus some of the reasons why minority students across the country are at a disadvantage when competing against their peers.
“Despite the best efforts of America’s educators to bring greater equity to our schools, too many children —especially low-income and minority children — are still denied the educational opportunities they need to succeed,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali.
Known as the Civil Rights Data Collection, the numbers released Thursday is the first installment of a two-part survey of 7,000 school districts and more than 72,000 schools. Within the 7,000 sampled school districts:
- 3,000 schools serving nearly 500,000 high school students offer no algebra II classes, and more than 2 million students in about 7,300 schools had no access to calculus classes.
- Schools serving mostly African-American students are twice as likely to have teachers with one or two years of experience than are schools within the same district that serve mostly white students.
- Only 2 percent of the students with disabilities are taking at least one Advanced Placement class.
- Only 22 percent of local education agencies reported that they operated pre-K programs targeting children from low-income families.
Whether the Obama administration will try to push for specific funding or legislation to address these findings is unknown.
The issue of disparities based on race in education has long been the focus of members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and the release of these statistics is sure to place more pressure on policymakers to back certain changes. At a time of massive budget cutting, however, it’s unclear what the changes might be.