OCR Data Reveals Substantial Educational Disparities for Minority Students

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OCR Data Reveals Substantial Educational Disparities for Minority Students

Earlier this month, the U.S. Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released Part II of its 2009-10 Civil Rights Data Collection, exposing significant inequities in educational resources and opportunities provided to minority students nationwide. These inequities are similar to those facing low income and minority students that were documented in the first round of OCR data released in July of 2011. Key findings from the second round of data reveal that:

Only 29% of high-minority schools offered calculus courses, though 55% of schools with the lowest Black and Hispanic enrollment offered calculus.

Teachers in high-minority schools were paid, on average, $2,251 less per year than their peers teaching in low-minority schools in the same district.

While Black students make up only 18% of students surveyed, Black students account for 35% of students suspended more than once and 39% of school expulsions.

56% of all 4th graders retained at the end of the 2009-2010 school year were Black.

Taken together, Black and Hispanic students represented more than 70% of total cases referred to law enforcement.

The CRDC sample acquires data about the ability of United States public schools to provide equal educational opportunities across race/ethnicity, sex, limited English proficiency, and disability categories. It includes nearly 7,000 school districts in total and accounts for 85% of all public school students in the country.

Part I data consisted of “snapshot data” depicting student enrollment and placement; it was collected between March and June 2010. Part II contains cumulative, “end-of-year results,” collected between October and December 2010.

New data items from the second round of the 2009-2010 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) include: school funding, students’ participation in algebra and other college-preparatory subjects, SAT or ACT test-taking, retention, teacher experience, teacher absenteeism, restraint/seclusion, interscholastic athletics, discipline, and the first ever report taken of school and district level bullying and harassment.

Thus far, the OCR has released 2009-2010 school- and district-level summaries; it will soon be releasing longitudinal data that explores data trends over time and state-level data summaries.

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