Public school civil rights data available

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The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently released the first comprehensive look at civil rights data from every public school in the country in nearly 15 years.

The Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC) from the 2011-12 school year was announced by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at J.O. Wilson Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

This is the first time since 2000 that the department has compiled data from all 97,000 of the nation’s public schools and its 16,500 school districts – representing 49 million students. And for the first time ever, state-, district- and school-level information is accessible to the public in a searchable online database at http://ocrdata.ed.gov/.

Among the key findings:

  • Access to preschool. About 40 percent of public school districts do not offer preschool and where it is available, it is mostly part-day only. Of the school districts that operate public preschool programs, barely half are available to all students within the district.
  • Suspension of preschool children. Black students represent 18 percent of preschool enrollment but 42 percent of students suspended once and 48 percent of the students suspended more than once.
  • Access to advanced courses. Eighty-one percent of Asian-American high school students and 71 percent of white high school students attend high schools where the full range of mathematics and science courses are offered (Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, calculus, biology, chemistry or physics). However, less than half of American Indian and Native-Alaskan high school students have access to the full range of mathematics and science courses in their high school. Black students (57 percent), Latino students (67 percent), students with disabilities (63 percent) and English language learner students (65 percent) also have less access to the full range of courses.
  • Access to college counselors. Nationwide, one in five high schools lacks a school counselor; in Florida and Minnesota, more than two in five students lack access to a school counselor.
  • Retention of English learners in high school. English learners make up 5 percent of high school enrollment but 11 percent of high school students held back each year.

Click here to view the full press release.

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