THE EDUCATIONAL GAP
There is a growing void and urgency in our nation. Although the COVID -19 global pandemic had it's educational impact, the larger more pressing problem before the pandemic that affected our children's education then, and even more so now, is the educational suppression as evident in our public school system. Our children of color have less access to STEM education engagement, learning and resources.
In 2020, there was 130,930, (recorded) number of K-12 schools in the United States of America, On average there are 2,618 schools per state, with some states like California and Alaska being above and below the curve, respectively. 50.7 million public school students entering prekindergarten through grade 12 in the fall of 2020. 23.4 million White students 14.0 million Hispanic students and 7.6 million Black students. While this may appear to be large, the trend actually points to a decrease in total schools since 1930, when there were over double the current number of schools in America. However, the average number of students per school has accordingly doubled as well. There are less schools and more students.. The number of high schools in the US, for example, is 26,727, while the number of elementary schools is far greater at 87,498.
Of the 130,930 schools, not all schools fit under the same budgeting umbrella. The per-child cost of education also varies by state. The State of New York budget, for example, is $24,040, but in Utah, the budget is only $7,628 per child. In considering these disparities, We must take into account the cost of living in these states, the number of public schools, then add in the cost of available instructors and other resources required. Even when considering determining factors, students of color are often concentrated in schools with fewer resources. Schools with 90 percent or more students of color spend $733 less per student, per year than schools with 90 percent or more white students.
A high percentage of Black students attend high-poverty schools. Only 7% of Black students attended low-poverty schools, compared with 39% Asian and 31% white students.
45% of Black students attended high-poverty schools, compared with 8% of white students.
About 25% of Black students were enrolled in public schools that were predominantly Black.
Added to these statistics, is the affect of poverty on education and the lack of basic resources needed by a child of color to excel and thrive.
In 2015, the average reading score for white students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 4th and the 8th-grade exam was 26 points higher than black students. Similar gaps are apparent in math. The 12th-grade assessment also shows alarming disparities as well, with only seven percent of black students performing at or above proficient on the math exam in 2015, compared to 32 percent white students.
African American students are less likely than white students to have access to college-ready courses. In 2011-12, only 57 percent of black students have access to a full range of math and science courses necessary for college readiness, compared to 81 percent of Asian American students and 71 percent of white students.
When black students do have access to honors or advanced placement courses, they are vastly underrepresented in these courses. Black and Latino's students represent 38 percent of students in schools that offer AP courses, but only 29 percent of students enrolled in at least one AP course.
Black and Latino's students also have less access to gifted and talented education programs than white students. African American students are often located in schools with less qualified teachers, teachers with lower salaries, and novice teachers.
Research has shown evidence of systematic bias in teacher expectations for African American students and non-black teachers were found to have lower expectations of black students than black teachers.
African American students are less likely to be college-ready. In fact, 61 percent of ACT-tested black students in the 2015 high school graduating class met none of the four ACT college readiness benchmarks, nearly twice the 31 percent rate for all students.
According to the Office for Civil Rights, 1.6 million students attend a school with a sworn law enforcement officers (SLEO), but not a school counselor. In fact, the national student-to-counselor ratio is 491-to-1, however, the American School Counselor Association recommends a ratio of 250-to-1.
Black students spend less time in the classroom due to discipline, which further hinders their access to quality education.
Black students are nearly two times as likely to be suspended without educational services as white students. Black students are also 3.8 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as white students. In addition, black children represent 19 percent of the nation’s pre-school population, yet 47 percent of those receiving more than one out-of-school suspension.
In comparison, white students represent 41 percent of pre-school enrollment but only 28 percent of those receiving more than one out-of-school suspension. Even more troubling, black students are 2.3 times as likely to receive a referral to law enforcement or be subject to a school-related arrest as white students.
There is a clear lack of black representation in school personnel.
According to a 2016 Department of Education report, in 2011-12, only 10 percent of public school principals were black, compared to 80 percent white. Eighty-two percent of public school educators are white, compared to 18 percent of teachers of color. In addition, black male teachers, a key source of leadership and mentorship only constitute two percent of the teaching workforce.
While these statistics are grim, Diaspora Global Foundation believes that our children have the innate capacity to rise in stature, representation, and performance with the right tools, resources, and guidance. Hence we are committed to gathering the tools and investing in their future.
American School Counselor Association
Education Spending By State (thebalancesmb.com)
National Center for Education Statistics, (NCES)
Unequal Education: Federal Loophole Enables Lower Spending on Students of Color
U.S. Department of Education: The State of Racial Diversity in the Workforce
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection “A First Look
The Nation’s Report Card: 2015 NAEP Mathematics & Reading Assessments