DURHAM (April 4, 2023) — School systems across North Carolina continue to fail BIPOC students, who experience significantly higher rates of disciplinary action in schools and lower rates of college readiness as compared with white students, according to Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s 2021-22 Racial Equity Report Cards, which collects data on racial disparities across the state’s school districts.
Since 2018, Black students have been about 4 times more likely on average than white students to receive short-term suspensions. The 2021-2022 school year was no different — that year they were 3.8 times more likely to receive short-term suspensions. Black students also consistently score the lowest in “college and career ready” on end-of-grade exams.
“The report cards, while not surprising, are disappointing given the number of school districts that claim to be addressing racial disparities in school discipline and academic achievement,” said Aimee Durant, Senior Counsel for Justice System Reform at SCSJ. “We have seen no statewide progress in the four years we’ve been tracking this data.”
More findings from the 2021-2022 Report Cards:
- Statewide, Black students received 52.4% of all short-term suspensions, even though they made up only 24.7% of the student population;
- Only 17.2% of Black students in grades 3-8 scored “college and career ready” on their final exams, compared to 39.9% of white students;
- North Carolina’s teaching force also remains disproportionately white: 79.4% of the state’s teachers were white, even though only 44.7% of the state’s student population was white.
The report cards show much work is still needed to shorten the gap of academic achievement and over-discipline for students of color across North Carolina. The report cards come at a time, however, when lawmakers across the country are focused more on censoring and restricting how schools teach about race and sexuality, banning books, punishing LGBTQ students, and adding more police officers to schools than ever in history.
“We need to do better for our children — I don’t know how we expect children of color in particular to thrive with so many threats to their well-being,” Durant added.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, founded in 2007, partners with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities in the South to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights through the combination of legal advocacy, research, organizing and communications. Learn more at southerncoalition.org and follow our work on Twitter and Facebook.