The Washington D.C. Public School System opened an all-boys high school in August for African American and Latino boys. But they failed to do so for girls.
In August, the school system opened Ron Brown College Preparatory High School, a school with capacity to accept 100 boys and that aims to boost academic achievements for black and Latino students as part of “Empowering Males of Color" initiative.
The project was lauded because the African-American and Latino students historically have lower test scores and graduation rates in the city. But it also drew controversy when it announced it will not be opening a similar school for girls.
DCPS officials held a meeting with more than 100 girls of color and discovered they were not interested in an all-girls school. Instead they wanted a “club to learn skills and to talk about their days,” according to Jezebel.
DCPS, like other urban school systems such as Miami, New York, Oakland, California, and Minneapolis, has struggled to raise academic scores and graduation rates for students of color and has spent millions on such initiatives. But many of them have a particular focus on black male students.
This time around, once again, it seems girls will miss out on the chance for academic achievement.
The American Civil Liberties Union posed this question, accusing the school system of discrimination.
“Based on the documents produced, DCPS is unlikely to be able to justify the exclusion of girls from any of the sponsored programs, because DCPS’ own data lead to the unavoidable conclusion that the racial achievement gap impacts girls as well as boys of color,” an ACLU study said.
Black male students are the lowest performing demographic in the district, but female students of color are also underperforming and the ACLU believes it is unjust for DCPS to present the problem as a gender-based issue.
This isn’t the only issue plaguing minority girls in D.C.
Recently, there has been an outcry about the number of children, particularly black and Latino teenage girls, who have gone missing in the district.
Yet Mayor Muriel Bowser said there has not been an increase in missing teenagers. Instead, police officers have tried to publicize the cases on social media.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Lucy Nicholson