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Equity Challenge Day 14

DAY 14: Education & School-Aged Children

Earlier this week, we explored how segregation persists in American communities. Our economically and racially divided neighborhoods are leading to inequitable educational environments and adverse academic outcomes for our youth. Studies show that children from families with low incomes enter high school with literacy skills 5 years behind and are over 4 times more likely to drop out than those from high-income families.

Students of color, who are more likely to attend under-resourced schools than their white counterparts, suffer because of teachers working in under-resourced school environments and large class sizes, which when controlling for socioeconomic status, almost entirely explain disparities in academic achievement according to Brookings.

African-American students in the Quad Cities lag behind all other racial and ethnic groups in academic performance:

  • In the Quad Cities, 84% of white kindergarten students enter school ready to learn, but this is true of only 71% of their African-American classmates.
  • In the Quad Cities, less than half (only 43%) of African-American third-grade students can read at grade level, compared to 73% of white third-grade students.
  • In the Quad Cities, 24% of African-American middle-school students are chronically absent from school, compared to only 15% of white middle-school students. This puts them at increased risk for dropping out of high school.
  • In the Quad Cities, 17% of African Americans do not complete high school within four years, compared to 10% of white students.
  • In the Quad Cities, 22% of African-American adults never completed high school, compared to only 7% of their white peers.

Academic Opportunity Gaps in the Quad Cities

Today’s Challenge:

Option 1: Watch Boston teacher Kandice Sumner on the TED stage discuss the disparities she sees in her classroom every day because of segregation in our school systems.

Option 2: Listen to the This American Life two-part podcast special on how integration is needed to close the achievement gap.

Option 3: Journal on your own early childhood. Did you have teachers who looked like you? Did you have toys and books that reflected your identity? What messages were you taught about race? How did those messages compare to what you saw around you?

Option 4: Watch this funny 3-minute video of what it can feel like to be The Only Black Kid in Class. 

Option 5: Learn more about UWQC’s African American Leadership Society’s work (and follow AALS on Facebook).