Disparities in Educational Equity Remain Persistent, Per USDOE Report

Disparities in Educational Equity Remain Persistent, Per USDOE Report

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today unveiled new data from the 2013-2014 school year showing gaps that still remain too wide in key areas affecting educational equity and opportunity for students, including incidents of discipline, restraint and seclusion, access to courses and programs that lead to college and career readiness, teacher equity, rates of retention, and access to early learning.  Following are highlights from the report:

Key data points of note follow and are included in the CRDC First Look document.

Student discipline

  • Nationwide, 2.8 million K-12 students received one or more out-of-school suspensions—which is a nearly 20 percent decrease from the number of out-of-school suspensions reported two years ago.
  • Black preschool children are 3.6 times as likely to be suspended as are white preschool students.
  • In kindergarten through the 12th grade, black students are nearly four times as likely to be suspended as are white students. Black students also are nearly twice as likely to be expelled—removed from school with no services—as are white students.
  • Students with disabilities are more than twice as likely as students without disabilities to be suspended in K-12 settings. They also represent two-thirds of students who are secluded from their classmates or restrained to prevent them from moving—even though they are only 12 percent of the overall student population.

Access to advanced courses

  • More than half of high schools do not offer calculus, four in ten do not offer physics, more than one in four do not offer chemistry, and more than one in five do not offer Algebra II, which is considered a gateway class for success in college.
  • By many measures, some student groups are more likely than others to miss out on these opportunities:
    • Only a third of high schools with high black and Latino enrollments offer calculus, compared to 56 percent of those that serve low numbers of black and Latino students.
    • Less than half the high schools with high black and Latino enrollments offer physics, while two in three high schools that have low numbers of black and Latino student offer physics.
    • English learners have disproportionately low participation rates in Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) programs: while English learners are 11% of all students in schools offering GATE programs, fewer than 3% of GATE students nationwide are English learners.
    • Black and Latino students also participate at lower rates in Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) programs. Although black and Latino students make up 42 percent of students enrolled in schools that offer GATE programs, they are only 28 percent of the students who participate in those programs.
    • Girls are underrepresented in some advanced coursework such as physics, but not in others such as calculus.

What are our obligations as educators to address these problems? What are your specific experiences as a K-12 educator related to the issues of educational equity raised by this report? Join the conversation at our forum >>

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