Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 1/16/2018, 11:17 a.m.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights published a report Jan. 11 titled “Public Education Funding Equity: In a Era of Increasing Concentration of Poverty and Resegregation,” which confirms what educators have known for a long time now – that educational resources and outcomes have a lot to do with a child’s particular neighborhood, reports NBC News. Residential segregation causes a disparity in educational opportunity because it creates higher-income communities, with predominantly white school districts that have more local tax revenue for their schools, compared to fewer dollars and resources for school districts in low-income, minority neighborhoods. The Chair of the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, Catherine Lhamon, said, “low-income students and students of color are often relegated to low-quality school facilities that lack equitable access to teachers, instructional materials, technology and technology support, critical facilities and physical maintenance.” The inequitable spending results in achievement gaps among predominantly Black and Latino students. A study found that in 2012, students who did not participate in the National School Lunch Program scored an average of 37 points higher on the NAEP reading test than students receiving free lunch, and an average of 24 points higher than students receiving reduced-price lunch. Schools with a majority of Black and Latino high school students have less access to high-rigor courses than predominantly white schools. For instance, the authors said, 33 percent of high schools with high Black and Latino enrollment offer calculus, compared with 56 percent of high schools with low Black and Latino student populations. Nationwide, 48 percent of schools offer the rigorous math course. There is also a lack of courses in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) as well as Advancement Placement (AP) courses. This is a major factor in why Blacks and Hispanics are still heavily underrepresented in the STEM workforce relative to their shares in the U.S. workforce as a whole, according to Pew Research.