Report Urges Continued Investment in Public Higher Education To Eliminate Racial Disparities

In a new report, the Center for American Progress outlines persisting racial disparities in American education and calls for continued investment in the nation’s public schools in an effort to eliminate these disparities.

The report noted that nearly half of all African American students attend schools where at least 75 percent of all students in that school qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Only 7.6 percent of Whites attend such schools where the vast majority of students come from low-income families.

The report also notes that while Blacks are 24 percent of all students enrolled in the nation’s public schools, they make up 48 percent of all students suspended from school and 49 percent of all student expelled.

In the 2011-12 school year, 82 percent of all teachers in the nation’s public schools were White. The report notes that in many cases “White teachers have lower expectations of a Black student’s academic performance than a similarly situated Black teachers for the same student.”

Of critical importance is academic performance. The report notes that 88 percent of Black eighth grade students are not proficient in mathematics, a key subject area for students who will be qualified for the best jobs.

The report concludes: “While the landscape has significantly improved and black students are achieving significantly more from an academic standpoint than they have in the past, there is still work left to be done. To do that work, policymakers must continue to ensure that the proper resources are in place to close the remaining gaps.”

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