College faculty, Domestic, Elementary / Primary / Junior, Ethics, High school / Secondary 2, Minorities, equity, and access, Public education, Required, Students - Written by on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 6:12 - 0 Comments

The Minority Report: DOE Finds Black & Hispanic Students Face Setbacks Nationwide

This doesn’t come as a huge surprise. But it should come as a sobering reality. Minority students face harsher discipline, fewer options according to a massive chunk of federal data just released by the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights’ 2009-2010 survey (surveyed 72,000 schools, or 85% of the country’s students) . The reality reinforces the need for solutions for minority students that include both in-person and digital disruptions that reform the current systems and also hep get at root problems that the students face at home, in their neighborhoods as well as in school.

Some of the findings: 

  • Twenty-nine percent of high-minority schools offered calculus, compared to 55 percent of schools with smaller black and Hispanic populations.
  • Black students are more than three-and-a-half times as likely as white students to be suspended or expelled.
  • More than 70 percent of students arrested in school or handed over to law enforcement were black or Hispanic.
  • English-language learners, which made up 12 percent of the sample, represented 12 percent of students held back.
  • Students with disabilities were more than twice as likely to receive out-of-school suspensions than their peers.

Here’s what various media said about the data: 

Joy Resmovits at The Huffington Post writes: 

Civil rights advocates expect this data, collected during the 2009-10 school year, will provide new ammunition for compliance reviews, advocacy and lawsuits involving educational fairness in America.

“The undeniable truth is that the everyday educational experience for too many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said on an embargoed phone call Monday afternoon. “It is our collective duty to change that.”  …. But Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali both stressed that the data is not “alleging overt discrimination in some or all of these cases.”

Teachers in high-minority schools made $2,251 less per year than teachers in other schools, but these disparities varied by district. For example, while Houston pays teachers in its high-minority schools an average of $2,549 per year more than their peers, Philadelphia pays them $14,699 less. A deficit in teacher pay generally represents less-experienced teachers.

 Via The Huffington Post
Kimberly Hefling at the Associated Press writes: 

Civil rights activists said they weren’t surprised by the results. They blamed get tough, “zero tolerance” policies that they say contribute to a “schools-to-prisons” pipeline. The problem, they say, is that zero tolerance applies more to minorities than white children. They say it’s time for a dialogue on appropriate and fair discipline.

Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, a think tank that specializes in social issues affecting minority communities, said research shows that black and Hispanic children are punished more harshly for the same offenses than white kids. Some think it’s necessary to crack down on minority children for small infractions. “There’s bias in classrooms. There’s also this perception of children of color as being criminals,” Dianis said

Raul Gonzalez, legislative director at the National Council of La Raza who taught school in New York, said zero tolerance policies in both schools and courtrooms have created a system that takes children out of school and ultimately leads them into prison where they become hardened criminals. He said more moderate responses are needed in schools, and he hopes that the report will lead not just to a change in policies in schools, but to state laws. “We’ve lost control of all judgment here, and it’s almost always a black kid or a Hispanic kid” affected, Gonzalez said.

Dianne M. Piché, senior counsel and director of education program at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said school discipline codes that include subjective offenses like “insubordination” have contributed to the problem. She said there’s no evidence that get-tough policies work, and “they often make things worse by reinforcing a child’s disengagement from school and low self-esteem.”

Via ABC News
Howard Blume at The L.A. Times writes: 
It’s long been known that black students have been suspended at higher rates in Los Angeles and elsewhere, but the new figures, based on the 2009-10 academic year, allow for a direct comparison between school systems.That year, black students made up about 9% of the enrollment in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest. But they accounted for 26% of suspensions — a ratio of almost 3 to 1. Latinos, whites and Asians were suspended at rates lower than their percentage of district enrollment.

In New York City, by contrast, black students account for 40% of enrollment and 46% of suspensions; the numbers for Chicago are 45% and 76%. In San Diego Unified, the nation’s 17th-largest school system, African Americans make up 11% of enrollment and 24% of suspensions.

Via The Los Angeles Times


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