The U.S. Department of Education released new data detailing rampant racial disparities in nearly all 95,000 public schools across the country from the 2013-2014 school year.
Of all the grim revelations contained in the Civil Rights Data Collection national survey, the most worrying is perhaps the one about how discrimination starts early for African-American students in the education system.
While black students make up only 19 percent of all preschoolers, they account for an astounding 47 percent of all those who were suspended, which means they were 3.6 times likely to be suspended than their white classmates.
“These data show that we still fall far short of that ideal,” said U.S. Education Secretary John King, adding students of color, other minority students and disabled students are “not getting same opportunities to learn” as other classmates. “When we deny some students access to a high-quality education, we all lose out in multiple ways.”
A separate study published in the Sociology of Education last year showed how black students with behavioral problems were more likely to receive criminalized discipline in schools in comparison to their white peers who, in stark contrast, receive medical intervention.
While much of the national focus has remained transfixed on police violence against African-Americans over the past couple of years, the damning stats in the U.S. Department of Education reveal that the United States’ race problem doesn’t begin in streets — it starts in schools.