Black Students Face Major Classroom Disadvantage Early On

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The Supreme Court decision for Brown v. Board of Education ruled to integrate classrooms but more than sixty years after the ruling, blacks and whites still largely attend different schools, even starting at kindergarten.

In a recent analysis from Economic Policy Institute (EPI), data reveals the severe segregation that exists even within kindergarten classes. The data used for the analysis came from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten class 2010-11, looked at kindergarten classrooms based on race and income.

From the study, the EPI discovered some interesting differences in the make up of classrooms with white and black students. Research found that while white kindergartners are likely to attend classrooms with fellow white students living above the poverty line, black students were much more likely to be in classrooms with peers of color with low-income backgrounds. According to the study, the separation “not only denies American students the intangible benefits of learning in more integrated classrooms, but it perpetuates the achievement gap between students of different racial and class backgrounds before they barely have had an opportunity to start their educations.”

The EPI report, written by researchers Emma Garcia and Elaine Weiss, also states,”Research makes fairly clear that racial integration – enabling white students to learn together with black and Hispanic students, and vice versa – benefits all student groups. Unfortunately, race is not now, and has never been, decoupled from socioeconomic and other differences.”

Take a look at the graphs detailing the problem below.

EPI Graph1EPI Graph2EPI Graph 3

(Photo Credit: Comstock Images/Thinkstockz and EPI)