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New Data from Office of Civil Rights Reveals Vast Inequities in Our Nation’s Schools

WASHINGTON (March 7, 2012) — The Campaign for High School Equity — a coalition of leading civil rights and education advocacy organizations focused on high school reform — points to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights as a tool to draw much-needed attention to severe inequities around teacher experience, disciplinary practices, and high school rigor that negatively impact students of color.

The data, based on the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) sample that includes approximately 85 percent of the nation’s students, confirms what many education advocates have known all along: students of color are far more likely than other students to have the least experienced teachers, experience out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, and be tracked in lower level high school courses or attend schools where rigorous coursework is not offered. Additionally, for the first time, there is now concrete data on how female and male students of color fare when compared with other students in terms of exposure to rigorous curriculums, harsh discipline practices, and novice teachers.

CHSE is particularly concerned about the following CRDC survey findings:

  • Only 29 percent of high-minority high schools offered Calculus, compared to 55 percent of schools with the lowest African American and Hispanic enrollment.
  • African American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers. African American students make up only 18 percent of the students in the CRDC sample, but 35 percent of these students suspended and 39 percent are expelled.
  • English language learners (ELL) were 6 percent of the CRDC high school enrollment sample but made up 12 percent of students retained.
  • Teachers in high-minority schools were paid $2,251 less per year than their colleagues in other schools.

If our nation is to get serious about closing the achievement gap, we must build the public and political will to also address the opportunity gaps. Likewise, CHSE urges the Department of Education to leverage this data to aggressively enforce the law and investigate any districts where civil rights inequities may exist.

For more information about CHSE’s policy priorities, visit www.highschoolequity.org/plan-for-success, join the CHSE community on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hsequity, or “follow” the conversation on Twitter, @hsequity  or the hashtag #Plan4Success.

CHSE is a coalition of leading civil rights organizations representing communities of color that is focused on high school education reform. Members include the National Urban League, National Council of La Raza, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, Alliance for Excellent Education, National Indian Education Association, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.

CHSE is a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Contact:
Kirana Bammarito, kbammarito@vancomm.com, (202) 248-5471

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