Educational Equity

Educational equity refers to communities having just access to high quality education and literacy development for all ages that effectively serves all learners and backgrounds. Educational equity plays an imperative role in promoting health as it lays the foundation for upward mobility in advancing greater employment opportunities and encourages health literacy. Approximately 36% of whites hold a Bachelor’s degree while only 23% of blacks and 15% of Hispanics.(1) In about half of the largest 100 cities, most African American and Latino students attend schools where at least 75 percent of all students qualify as poor or low-income under federal guidelines.(2) Kids of color represent a majority of the student body in 83 of the 100 largest cities. Native-Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, American Indian, and Native-Alaskan kindergarten students are held back a year at nearly twice the rate of white kindergarten students. Boys represent 61% of kindergarteners retained. Black children make up 18% of preschool enrollment, but 48% of preschool children suspended more than once.(3) Black and Latino students represent 26% of the students enrolled in gifted and talented education programs, compared to black and Latino students’ 40% enrollment in schools offering gifted and talented programs.(4) Black, Latino, American Indian and Native-Alaskan students attend schools with higher concentrations of first-year teachers at a higher rate (3 to 4%) than white students (1%).(5) While most teachers are certified, nearly half a million students nationwide attend schools where 60% or fewer of teachers meet all state certification and licensure requirements. Racial disparities are particularly acute in schools where uncertified and unlicensed teachers are concentrated; nearly 7% of the nation’s black students – totaling over half a million students – attend schools where 80% or fewer of teachers meet these requirements; black students are more than four times as likely, and Latino students twice as likely, as white students to attend these schools. Undocumented undergraduates represent 55 different countries of origin(6) and 61.3% had an annual income below $30,0000. Approximately 75% reported experiencing high level of anxiety due to fear of deportation. Only 65.9% (mostly female) applied and received DACA. 73.9% reported stopping or dropping out of school due to financial difficulties. In 2012, LGBT youth are twice as likely to experience verbal harassment, exclusion and physical attack at school as their non-LGBT peers.(7) 51 percent have been verbally harassed at school, compared to 25 percent among non-LGBT students. 48 percent say they are often excluded by their peers because they are different, compared to 26 percent among non-LGBT students. Students with disabilities served by IDEA represent 12% of high school students, 2% of students enrolled in an AP course, and 1% of the students receiving a qualifying score of 3 or above on an AP exam.(4) Students with disabilities served by IDEA and English learners make up 12% and 5% of high school enrollment, respectively, but 19% and 11% of students held back or retained a year, respectively. Students with disabilities (served by IDEA) represent 12% of the student population, but 58% of those placed in seclusion or involuntary confinement, and 75% of those physically restrained at school to immobilize them or reduce their ability to move freely. Students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to receive an out-of-school suspension (13%) than students without disabilities (6%). While boys receive more than two out of three suspensions, black girls are suspended at higher rates (12%) than girls of any other race or ethnicity and most boys.(3) Native-Alaskan girls (7%) are suspended at higher rates than white boys (6%) or girls (2%).

  1. Demographic trends and economic well-being. June 2016. Accessed June 20, 2017.
  2. Brownstein JB and R. The Concentration of Poverty in American Schools. The Atlantic. February 2016.
  3. Data Snapchat: School Discipline. Civil Rights Data Collection. Published March 2014. Accessed June 30, 2017.
  4. Data Snapshot: College and Career Readiness. Civil Rights Data Collection. Published March 2014. Accessed June 30, 2017.
  5. Data Snapshot: Teacher Equity. Published March 2014. Accessed June 30, 2017.
  6. Teranishi R, Suarez-Orozco C, Suarez-Orozco. In the Shadows of the Ivory Tower: Undocumented Undergraduates and the Liminal State of Immigration Reform. Accessed June 21, 2017.
  7. Peters S. All LGBT Youth Deserve Fairness and Equality at School. Human Rights Campaign. Accessed June 30, 2017.