While the idea that most low-income students do not attend the best and most rigorous public schools may not sound surprising, a new study proves the point. As reported recently in the New York Times, black, Hispanic, and poor students were found to have less access to good schools than their white and affluent counterparts.
The study was conducted by the Schott Foundation for Public Education and found several inequalities in New York public schools. The authors of the study investigated math and English scores in 500 New York City middle schools, but did not include charter schools. They found that black and Hispanic students were four times more likely to go to a poor performing school than white or Asian students. They also found that the districts with more poor students had fewer experienced teachers and a staff that was more changeable than in affluent districts. Low-income students in New York City were found to be unlikely to get tested for a gifted and talented program, a fact that was confirmed by Department of Education findings.
The study’s detractors bemoan the exclusion of charter schools, which represent another option for poor and minority students. It also failed to include comparisons to previous years’ test scores to determine if the city’s schools were improving or not. Spokesman for the schools, Frank Thomas, stated that the study does not show the fact that black and Hispanic students in the city are graduating at their greatest rates ever and that the achievement gap is indeed closing.
In the wake of its findings, the Schott Foundation is calling for mandatory gifted and talented testing for incoming kindergarten students so that all students have the opportunity to enter specialized programs. They would also like to see test preparation and tutoring services expanded to give older students better chances of attending the best high schools. Finally, Schott proposes a cap on the number of newer teachers that can work in schools with high percentages of poor students.
->Learn about how to become a teacher