Overall, African-American students are 3-1/2 times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers. And 70 percent of students arrested or referred to law enforcement for disciplinary infractions are Black or Latino, according to a sweeping study released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
One in five African-American boys – and one in 10 African-American girls – was suspended from school during the study period, the 2009-10 school year. Other researchers have found that students who are repeatedly punished by being barred from campus are far more likely to drop out.
The trove of data, collected from 72,000 schools serving 85 percent of the nation’s students, revealed tremendous disparities in the public school experiences of minority and white students. Minority students across America face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curricula, and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers, according to new self-reported data, Part II of the 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), that covers a range of issues including college and career readiness, discipline, school finance, and student retention.
In an event at Howard University attended by civil rights and education reform groups, federal education officials released
Among the key findings are:
- African-American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers. Black students make up 18% of the students in the CRDC sample, but 35% of the students suspended once, and 39% of the students expelled.
- Students learning English (ELL) were 6% of the CRDC high school enrollment, but made up 12% of students retained.
- Only 29% of high-minority high schools offered Calculus, compared to 55% of schools with the lowest black and Hispanic enrollment.
- 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 power of the data is not only in the numbers themselves, but in the impact it can have when married with the courage and the will to change. 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,” Duncan said.
“The undeniable truth is that the everyday education experience for too many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise.”