In the previous video, Derek Jensen from PSI High notes:
“When we look at student achievement data…despite all of the interventions of the last 20 years, and all of the programs, and the software, and the initiatives, we still have a significant and disturbing discipline gap, we still have an academic and achievement gap, a testing gap, we have all of these data points that are still not getting much better and that in some cases are increasing in bad ways. So we have to do something different.”
Here is some data about the disparities facing students in the US today. The links below will connect you to articles, peer-reviewed research studies, and reports by government and non-government organizations.
Many US children are facing gaps in the education opportunities they have, particularly students of color and low-income students. They face disparities in educational funding, teacher experience and access to higher-level academic coursework, and teachers’ expectations. While having teachers and role models from similar backgrounds can help students, bias and low expectations are more likely to impact students of color when there is a demographic mismatch between teacher and pupil, which is increasingly common given demographic trends of teachers and students in the US.
The impacts of these opportunity gaps can be seen in many areas, including: disparities in standardized test scores, disparities in graduation rates for many groups (including students with disabilities and low-income students), increased rates of school discipline for LGBTQ students, and dramatically higher school suspension rates for Black students than White students (starting as early as preschool).
These are examples of how structural inequalities, such as racism, classism, ableism, and homophobia play out in US schools. We hope this provides some context for why we made this course, and we hope our work together helps you consider how you might work to close some of these opportunity gaps, and build strong relationships cross-culturally in schools, classrooms, and communities. We’re excited that you’re joining us on this journey.
- Camera, Lauren. 2019. “White Students Get More K-12 Funding Than Students of Color: Report.” U.S. News and World Report. February 26.
- National Opportunity to Learn Campaign. “Closing Opportunity Gaps in Education is the Only Way to Close Achievement Gaps.” Schott Foundation for Public Education.
- Boser, Ulrich, Megan Wilhelm, and Robert Hanna. 2014. “The Power of the Pygmalion Effect.” Center for American Progress. October 6.
- Johns Hopkins. 2017. “With Just One Black Teacher, Black Students More Likely to Graduate”
- Gershenson, Seth. 2015. “The Alarming Effect of Racial Mismatch on Teacher Expectations.” Brookings. August 18.
- Geiger, A.W. 2018. “America’s Public School Teachers are far Less Racially and Ethnically Diverse than their Students.” Pew Research Center. August 27.
- National Education Association. 2019. “Students Affected by Achievement Gaps.”
- Gewertz, Catherine. 2017. “U.S. Graduation Rate Hits New All-Time High, With Gains in All Student Groups.” Education Week. December 4.
- Grindal, Todd and Laura Schifter. 2017. “The Special Education Graduation Gap.” HuffPost. December 6.
- Musto, Pete. 2017. ”Low-Income Students See Low Graduation Rates.” Voice of America. November 7.
- GLSEN. 2016. “Educational Exclusion: Drop out, Push out, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline Among LGBTQ Youth.” The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
- Losen, Daniel, Cheri Hodson, Michael A. Keith, Katrina Morrison, and Shakti Belway. 2015. “Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap?” The Center for Civil Rights Remedies, UCLA Ed & IS. February.
Malik, Rasheed. 2017. “New Data Reveal 250 Preschoolers Are Suspended or Expelled Every Day.” Center for American Progress. November 6.