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10 things to know from the U.S. education department's latest civil rights data

Jun 10, 2016

This week, the U.S. Department of Education released its 2013-2014 Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) results. The CRDC is an annual survey of all public schools and school districts in the country. The new data reflect more than 95,000 public schools and more than 50 million students.

The survey measures student access to courses, programs, instructional and other staff, and resources — as well as school climate factors, such as student discipline and bullying and harassment — that impact education equity and opportunity for students.

There's a lot of data to sort through, but I thought I'd share 10 figures that stood out from the survey:

1. Black preschoolers are suspended from school at high rates. Black preschool students are 3.6 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions than white preschoolers.

2. Nationwide, 2.8 million K-12 students received one or more out-of-school suspensions. These include 1.1 million black students; 600,000 Latino students; 660,000 students with disabilities served by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and 210,000 English learners (students with limited English proficiency).

3. Students with disabilities in grades K-12 are disproportionately suspended from school. Students with disabilities served by IDEA (11%) are more than twice as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as students without disabilities (5%).

4. A significant number of schools have sworn law enforcement officers (SLEOs). Twenty-four percent of elementary schools (grades K-6); 42% of high schools (grades 9-12); and 51% of high schools (with high black and Latino student enrollment) have SLEOs.

5. 1.6 million students attend a school with an SLEO, but no school counselor. Latino students are 1.4 times as likely to attend a school with an SLEO but not a school counselor as white students; Asian students are 1.3 times as likely; and black students are 1.2 times as likely.

6. High-rigor course access is not a reality across all of America's schools. Forty-eight percent of high schools offer calculus; 60% offer physics; 72% offer chemistry; and 78% offer Algebra II.

7. More than 6.5 million students  or 13% of all students  are chronically absent. This means they are absent 15 or more school days during the school year.

8. In schools with chronic student absenteeism, the majority of teachers are also frequently absent.

  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander students represent 0.4 percent of all students, but 2% of chronically absent students who attend schools where more than 50 percent of teachers were absent for more than 10 days.
  • Black students represent 15% of all students, but 21 percent of chronically absent students who attend schools where more than 50% of teachers were absent for more than 10 days.

9. Nearly 800,000 students are enrolled in schools where more than 20% of teachers have not met all state certification or licensure requirements. Three percent of black students, and 2% of Latino and American Indian or Alaska Native students attend these schools, compared to 1% of white students.

10. Black, Latino, and American Indian or Alaska Native students are more likely to attend schools with higher concentrations of inexperienced teachers.

  • 11% of black students, 9% of Latino students, and 7% of American Indian or Alaska Native students attend schools where more than 20% of teachers are in their first year of teaching, compared to 5% of white students and 4% of Asian students.
  • 10 percent of teachers in schools with high black and Latino student enrollment are in their first year of teaching, compared to 5%of teachers in schools with low black and Latino student enrollment.

You can read a summary of the Civil Rights Data Collection results here.