It is widely known that significant disparities exist between the educational experiences of white students and students of color, and that these disparities are often more pronounced for male students of color. The last authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also known as No Child Left Behind) shone a light on the large differences in educational attainment for students of color with its mandate to disaggregate test scores by subgroups and requirements that all subgroups are meeting standards. The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, in its 2009 data collection, greatly the increased the amount and types of data it collected from schools and districts in an effort to illuminate other issues of disparity for students of color, those with disabilities, and those in poverty. This includes more detailed information about suspensions, expulsions, access to college-preparatory coursework, and teacher characteristics.
We need to go a step further now and incorporate more of this data that is collected into the accountability structure that is a part of ESEA. At the national level, data collected should be used as a measuring stick to evaluate the health of our nation’s educational system. At the local level, this data should be used to guide planning for individual schools and the entire district. Education is a right that is afforded to all children and youth in this nation. We cannot allow for disparities in treatment, school culture, access to rigorous curriculum to exist as a part of our nation’s public school system. Schools receiving funds from the government to teach children and youth must be held to a standard assuring that all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or disability, are treated equally and afforded the same opportunities to learn. Gathering and analyzing this data will enable everyone to see quite plainly the educational environment being afforded to students and provide sanctions or rewards.
COSEBOC believes that the following policy solutions would be helpful in advancing better use of data for the benefit of boys of color: