Four New Civil Rights Data Collection Snapshots

Last week, the Department of Education released the latest data from the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). The CRDC is a vital resource that provides the public an opportunity to understand how our nation and individual states, districts, and schools serve all students, including our students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities. The troubling disparities revealed in this comprehensive, searchable database serve as a reminder of the importance of ensuring all students have equal access to educational opportunities.

Holder at Wilson Elementary

Attorney General Eric Holder talks with a student following the announcement of the latest CRDC collection at J.O. Wilson Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

For the first time in more than a decade, the CRDC contains information on approximately 16,500 school districts, 97,000 schools, and 49 million students. The data shines a spotlight on educational equity in areas such as discipline, access to preschool, teacher equity, and access to college- and career-ready courses.

To coincide with the most recent data release, the Office for Civil Rights has created four new snapshots to help understand the data:

Data Snapshot: Early Childhood Education

Examples:

  • Public preschool access not yet a reality for much of the nation: About 40 percent of school districts do not offer preschool programs.
  • Black children make up 18 percent of preschool enrollment, but 48 percent of preschool children suspended more than once. Boys receive more than three out of four out-of-school preschool suspensions.

Data Snapshot: School Discipline, Restraint, & Seclusion Highlights

Examples:

  • Disproportionately high suspension/expulsion rates for students of color: Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students. On average, 5 percent of white students are suspended, compared to 16 percent of black students. American Indian and Native-Alaskan students are also disproportionately suspended and expelled, representing less than 1 percent of the student population but 2 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 3 percent of expulsions.
  • Disproportionate suspensions of girls of color: While boys receive more than two out of three suspensions, black girls are suspended at higher rates (12 percent) than girls of any other race or ethnicity and most boys; American Indian and Native-Alaskan girls (7 percent) are suspended at higher rates than white boys (6 percent) or girls (2 percent).

Data Snapshot: College and Career Readiness

Examples:

  • Limited access to high-level math and science courses: Nationwide, only 50 percent of high schools offer calculus, and only 63 percent offer physics.
  • Significant lack of access to other core courses: Nationwide, between 10-25 percent of high schools do not offer more than one of the core courses in the typical sequence of high school math and science education — such as Algebra I and II, geometry, biology, and chemistry.

Data Snapshot: Teacher and Counselor Equity

Examples:

  • Teacher salary disparities: Nearly one in four districts with two or more high schools reports a teacher salary gap of more than $5,000 between high schools with the highest and the lowest black and Latino student enrollments.
  • Access to school counselors: Nationwide, one in five high schools lacks a school counselor.

Learn more about the 2011-12 CRDC collection at ocrdata.ed.gov.

Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education

1 Comment

  1. This comment is in reference to the inequities with school discipline. I believe that affirmative action should aggressively be used when hiring at predominately black and Hispanic schools. I have taught at schools in the South where the student population as far a race was not reflected in the teacher population. I’ve been at schools that had a 97% African American population and the faculty was 90% Caucasian. There is a cultural disconnect between the teachers and the students. Some of the teachers were devoted and loved their students but other’s you’d hear them in the lounge saying “Oh yeah, they’ll just end up in jail.” You have people who are racist at these schools, in fact they had to fire one coach for making racist comments in public at a sports dinner, and they are in charge of molding, nurturing and educating these young minority students. These people were simply their for the check. I’m not just blaming the faculty because many of these kids were coming from some rough situations where there was a lack of parenting or no parents physically present in the home, but having a racist teacher who in the back of their mind believes that you aren’t intelligent and are a thug and are naturally violent will not lead to anything good. These people will punish a minority child more severely and demand that their punishment be more extreme, because of the way they feel. They also need to aggressively recruit males in the teaching profession. A lot of those young boys need male role models. They need structure and they need discipline. I’ve worked at a lot of low income minority schools. These kids don’t have a lot of structure at home and they need it. I’ve always thought that perhaps many of these failing schools could be turned into ROTC academies, where these kids can be taught life skills, ethics, and the three R’s. Giving kids in these troubled schools “harder more rigorous tests”, is not going to change anything. Your average kid can pass a standardized test, the tests only hold back kids who are already struggling with their education or kids with a learning disability. Kids should be taught REAL job skills not just a bunch of tricky word problems on some test. Kids should be learning about cell phone, wireless, computer, industrial and electrical technology. I’ve always believed that after the 10th grade kids should either go directly into some kind of technical training program in conjunction with a technical or community college or earn college credit if they choose to go to college. I know I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent, but I am really concerned with the way education is going. I think with the common core they are really given the kids problems that are way too abstract and complicated. Instead of pulling kids in I believe it is alienating those who are already struggling and frustrating parents and teachers alike. I know this is going to sound bad, but I really think the education system is just trying TOO hard. All these kids need is structure, a safe environment to learn in and an instructor who is knowledgeable, genuinely believes in them, cares about them and has high expectations (not ridiculous ones) for them as far as their behavior and their education. I know we’re so called trying to keep up with other countries, but take note of the fact, for the longest time America was the mother of inventions. Our young students invented some of the things that revolutionized the world. This was before any standardized tests.

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