Only in a nation of bootstraps fairy tales could one imagine that it was any other way:
While the path from kindergarten through college can be tough for anyone, two government reports released this month outline the particular difficulties facing poor black and Hispanic students, as well as the higher education hurdles confronting homeless and foster youth.
One Government Accountability Office (GAO) study shows increasing isolation of poor students of color in K-12 education. And, their schools have fewer resources.
Another GAO report says homeless and foster youth graduate from college at a sharply lower rate than other students. The two groups also have a difficult time navigating bureaucratic rules that make it harder for them to secure financial aid for college.
“Over time, there has been a large increase in schools that are the most isolated by poverty and race,” says its report on disparities and racial discrimination in K-12 schooling.
During the 2000-2001 academic year, schools classified as high-poverty black or Hispanic were 9 percent of all public schools. By the 2013-2014 school year, that had jumped to 16 percent. These are schools where at least 75 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunch and at least three-quarters of the study body are black or Hispanic. The number of students in these schools doubled to 8.4 million.
For poorer students, the growth in racially separate facilities was dramatic.
“Specifically, according to our analysis of [Department of] Education’s data,” GAO said “the number of schools where 90 to 100 percent of the students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and 90 to 100 percent of the students were Black or Hispanic grew by 143 percent from school years 2000-01 to 2013-14.”
GAO also found “multiple disparities, including access to academic courses,” fewer resources and more disciplinary actions in those schools.
The GAO report can be found here.