New Department of Education Report Shows Black Children Are Already at a Disadvantage When They Start School

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education finds that by the time children enter kindergarten, a significant racial gap in academic achievement is already present. The study of students entering kindergarten in 2006 found that white students scored 6 percent higher than black students on a test measuring early reading skills such as letter recognition, elementary phonics, and vocabulary.

The report found a wider racial gap in students’ mathematical preparedness for school. White students scored more than 8 percent higher on a test of students’ ability to count, their recognition of shapes, and other elementary mathematical measurements.

The racial make up of the students entering kindergarten in 2006 was 54 percent white, 14 percent black, and 25 percent Hispanic.