In Dallas ISD, Algebra for (Almost) Everyone on the Bridge Over the Opportunity Gap

070610dunce.jpg
While black students are suspended, the nation's white students are forced to write sentences on really large iPads.
Make no mistake: The achievement gap is still a seemingly uncrossable gorge, and minority students in Dallas and across the country are still pretty much hosed. But in a few key areas at least, black and Latino students are slightly less hosed here than they are in other large, urban school districts, according to a massive cache of federal education data released Tuesday.

The data, from the 2009-2010 school year, is courtesy of the U.S. Department of Education's civil rights office, which conducts a semi-annual survey of U.S. public schools. It covers everything from how minority students are disciplined to access to college-prep courses to the caliber of teachers manning the classrooms in schools attended by mostly black and Latino kids.

Nationally, the results are about what you'd expect. The key findings, according to the Education Department release:

* African-American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers. Black students make up 18% of the students in the CRDC sample, but 35% of the students suspended once, and 39% of the students expelled.

* Students learning English (ELL) were 6% of the CRDC high school enrollment, but made up 12% of students retained.

* Only 29% of high-minority high schools offered Calculus, compared to 55% of schools with the lowest black and Hispanic enrollment.

* Teachers in high-minority schools were paid $2,251 less per year than their colleagues in teaching in low-minority schools in the same district.

Education reporters across the country used the data to paint another bleak picture of our public schools' various opportunity and achievement gaps. But Alan King, the interim superintendent of Dallas ISD, framed it differently in a note he sent to the district's board of trustees on Tuesday. "Compared to the largest school districts in the country, Daìlas ISD fares well in this report," he wrote.

In a snapshot of the data, which King provided to the trustees, the OCR compares equity in certain categories at the nation's largest school districts. Discipline-wise, Dallas fares about the same as most large districts: poorly. Forty-eight percent of DISD students who were suspended were black, while black students made up only 25 percent of the district's enrollment. Hispanic students made up 69 percent of the student population but only 48 percent of the suspensions. White students, who made up 4 percent of the district, accounted for only 3 percent of the suspensions.

But in other areas highlighted by the Education Department, the district stood out. Nationally, only 65 percent of high schools with the highest minority enrollment rates offered Algebra II -- not calc, not trig, but freakin' algebra. DISD was one of only three of the largest 20 districts in which 100 percent of the high schools with the highest minority populations offered the course. (All of DISD's high schools are largely populated by minority students; the data compares schools with the fewest white kids against schools with the most.)

Nationally, schools with the most minority students had twice as many first- and second-year teachers. But in Dallas ISD, the percentage of novice teachers was about the same across the board: 10 percent (and growing, no doubt, thanks to Teach for America.)

And while teachers at high schools with the most white students typically earn more than teachers at schools with the least, DISD teachers at the schools with the highest percentage of minority students make slightly more. Only two other districts, Houston and Prince George County, Maryland, can make that claim.

In a district that's only 4 percent white, questions of racial disparity, especially between white students and non-, are naturally less pressing than in more diverse districts. But whatever. A little good news never killed anyone. That we know of.

OCR snapshot and King's note are below.

Civil Rights Data Collection 3-6-12

Crdc Data Doc Pdf2



Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
5 comments
DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Based on what I see, the kids who get suspended tend to be the lowest income kids regardless of race.Also, based on what I see, a much greater number of Hispanic kids live with both parents. So, regardless of race, kids who live in the least stable homes are the ones more likely to get suspended (low-income, single-mother).  Race is not the problem.Race-based approaches, therefore, are not the solution.The problem is adult behaviors that lead to poverty and ruin the opportunities for children.We need to forget race; we need to figure out the adult behaviors in all races that hamper the child's learning AND WORK TO MITIGATE THOSE.-kids staying up too late--even thru high school-tv always on--no silent place to read in the home-chaotic, unpredictable schedule at home-chaotic, unpredictable finances-chronic tension/fights between adults-drug and alcohol abuse in the home

If 25% of the kids are black and 48% of them are getting suspended, it means that 48% of them probably come from the least stable conditions.

RTGolden
RTGolden

"Forty-eight percent of DISD students who were suspended were black, while black students made up only 25 percent of the district's enrollment. Hispanic students made up 69 percent of the student population but only 48 percent of the suspensions. White students, who made up 4 percent of the district, accounted for only 3 percent of the suspensions."So, what you're saying here is that Black students get disproportionately suspended, Hispanic students get away with a lot of crap, and White students get proportionately suspended compared with their percentage of the school population?  Right?

I guess to be really fair, the 4% white students should probably account for 48% of the suspensions?

Mort_Nordel
Mort_Nordel

Would have been nice to see actual numbers instead of percentages, which can be misleading (intentionally or otherwise).  For example, in the:

"Forty-eight percent of DISD students who were suspended were black, while black students made up only 25 percent of the district's enrollment. Hispanic students made up 69 percent of the student population but only 48 percent of the suspensions. White students, who made up 4 percent of the district, accounted for only 3 percent of the suspensions."

I'd be interested to know what percentage of the total school enrollment gets suspended. 

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

" Forty-eight percent of DISD students who were suspended were black, while black students made up only 25 percent of the district's enrollment. Hispanic students made up 69 percent of the student population but only 48 percent of the suspensions. White students, who made up 4 percent of the district, accounted for only 3 percent of the suspensions."

Bernadette Nutall and Lew Blackburn when are you going to speak out for the 40,000 African American students in DISD?  Thank you Carla Ranger for attempting to make a difference.

Yetihub
Yetihub

I went to a magnet school in lubbock. I help teach an informal geometry class. Most of the hispanics and other minorities just didnt care. Very disruptive in class. What do u do? Just like the white kids. You either care or you dont

Mgr

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...