January 2018

The Black-White Education Gap In Connecticut: Indicators of Inequality in Access and Outcomes

Camara Stokes Hudson

Significant disparities persist in access to quality education, school experience and education outcomes between White and Black students in the state. In this report, we find systemic and persistent differences in access to resources, student treatment, and teacher recruitment. These disparities translate into deep and persistent gaps in student outcomes, run contrary to our oft-stated commitment to equitable opportunity, undermine individual student social and economic mobility, and will have significant long-term negative impacts for the state.

The school experience for White and Black students encounter vastly different school experiences.

  • Suspension rates are four times higher for Black than White students.

  • Chronic absenteeism rates are two and a half times higher for Black students.

  • Access to advanced classes is significantly more limited, with Black students constituting only seven percent of students enrolled in gifted and talented programs.

  • Access to teachers of the same race differs dramatically, with Black students much less likely to have teachers of their own ethnicity (only 3.5 percent of teachers in the state are Black, while Black students constitute 13 percent of the student population).

Paralleling these different experiences are vastly different outcomes, with graduation rates for Blacks lagging those for Whites by 16 percent. College readiness is also significantly lower, with Black students scoring more than 100 points below Whites in SAT exams. Other standardized tests like Smarter Balance show similar gaps. These disparities have a significant impact on black students ability to attend college or participate in the 21st-century workforce and therefore hinder the upward mobility of themselves and their communities.

The report recommends several policies to reduce inequity, including increasing the number of black teachers, expanding data sharing on school discipline and attendance to identify chronically absent students and, improved anti-bias training for school personnel, and improve school funding to districts with high minority populations.

Issue Areas:
Education, Family Economic Security