Friday, June 10, 2016

Opportunity Gaps Confirmed by New Federal Data | janresseger

Opportunity Gaps Confirmed by New Federal Data | janresseger:

Opportunity Gaps Confirmed by New Federal Data

Many of us whose children attend school in a middle income or more privileged community may assume that all of the students in the nation’s 95,000 public schools have access to pretty much the same courses and school experiences as our own children do.  Hence, when less advantaged students lack the skills our children have developed in school, we imagine that those children and adolescents have failed to take advantage of what was provided.  However, new 2013-2014 data disaggregated by race and ethnicity—data released by the U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday—demonstrate just how mistaken are those assumptions. Here are just some of the opportunity gaps exposed in the new data.
First there are shocking disparities across America’s high schools in math and science courses offered: “High-rigor course access is not a reality across all of our nation’s schools: Nationwide, 48% of high schools offer calculus; 60% offer physics; 72% offer chemistry; and 78% offer Algebra II… 33% of high schools with high black and Latino student enrollment offer calculus, compared to 56% of high schools with low black and Latino student enrollment.”  And in a society with a growing percentage of English learners, the data show that English learners make up only 5% of students in high schools that offer Algebra II and 4% of students enrolled in Algebra II.”  English learners make up only 1% of students enrolled in calculus. What about high school students’ access to advanced courses?  “Black and Latino students represent 38% of students in schools that offer AP courses, but 29% of students enrolled in at least one AP course.”  English learners make up only 2% of students enrolled in at least one AP class.
The new report does not track class size, but it does document very unequal access to experienced teachers and to school counselors.  Schools with a high percentage of black and Latino students have twice as many teachers in their very first year of teaching than the schools that serve fewer black and Latino students.  “Nearly 800,000 students are enrolled in Opportunity Gaps Confirmed by New Federal Data | janresseger:


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