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Federal Education Data Shows Racial Disparities in Alameda Schools

Released last week, new federal education data highlights stark disparities among students of different races in a school district that promises “excellence & equity for all students.”

The conclusions come from an analysis of data by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

According to ProPublica, which provided the story we ran last week, overall, the Department’s data set shows that “schools serving the most black and Hispanic students are less likely to offer rigorous subjects such as calculus and physics and more likely to employ teachers with only a year or two of experience.”

Here in Alameda the data shows that African American and/or Hispanic students tend to be under represented in advanced programs, compared to their share of enrollment, and over represented in suspensions and expulsions.

For example, in 2009, the survey year, black students accounted for 10.3 percent of enrollment at Alameda Unified School District, but they accounted for 100 percent of expulsions (five), 31 percent of out of school suspensions, and 33 percent of in school suspensions.

Discipline, Restraints/Seclusion, Harassment/Bullying data for Alameda Unified School District.

For college and career readiness, no black students were enrolled in Calculus, despite contributing 10.3 percent of the student population, and Hispanic students made up 5.9 percent of Calculus enrollments, compared to their 14.2 percent contribution to population.

Career Readiness data for Alameda Unified School District.

Of the students that took SAT/ACT, 7.5 percent were black (10.3 percent of total population) and 5.2 percent were Hispanic (14.2 percent of population.)

SAT/ACT Participation data for Alameda Unified School District.

No black students were enrolled in gifted or talented programs, and Hispanic students made up 5.3 percent of enrollment in those programs. For Algebra I in 7th or 8th grade, black students made up 9.1 percent of enrollment and Hispanic students made up 12.9 percent.

Gifted Enrollment data for Alameda Unified School District.

In 2010, the Alameda Unified School District Board of Education voted to close Chipman School after four years of probation without improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act. According to the federal data, in 2009, Chipman had two teachers in their first year of teaching, and three teachers in their second year of teaching, the highest proportion of new teachers in any of Alameda’s schools. Enrollment at Chipman was 20 percent black, 17 percent Hispanic, and 16 percent white. By comparison, Edison Elementary had only one new teacher, and Franklin Elementary had none; both of those schools have predominantly white enrollment.

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