Monday, September 24, 2012

Minorities account for nearly half of the student population in America, and will likely become the majority within the next decade or two, but recent studies show that students across the country are still largely learning in segregated environments - along both racial and economic lines

According to a new analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education, an overwhelming majority of Latino and black students study in racially isolated classrooms: 80% of Latino students and 74% of black students are in schools where the majority of students are not white. More specifically, 43% of Latinos and 38% of black attend intensely segregated schools where white students comprise 10% or less of the student body. The report also found that the average black or Latino student now goes to schools where low-income students account for nearly double the proportion of poor students than the average white or Asian student. Increasing prevalence of school segregation is most dramatic in the south for black students. More northern states like New York, Illinois and Michigan tend to have the most segregated schools for black students while Washington, Nebraska and Kansas are most integrated. For Latino students, California, New York and Texas have the most segregated environments. White students, on the other hand, tend to attend schools where about 75% of their peers are white. The findings come at a time when the achievement gap between minority and white students continues to widen. A January 2012 report notes that minority high school students are performing at academic levels equal to or below those of three decades ago. And the high school graduation rate for black males still trails that for white males, according to a report released recently. While the black male graduation rate has improved to close the racial gap by 3 percentage points over nine years, it would take 50 years for that rate to catch up to the white male graduation rate if it continued growing at the same pace.

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