July 2018

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

Camara Stokes Hudson & Lauren Ruth, Ph.D.

Access to a robust and challenging education allows all Connecticut students to pursue their dreams and live to their full potential. Ensuring a quality education for all children is also essential to build a competitive, well-prepared workforce, a competitive workforce, and shared prosperity. 

In our new report, we find that the state’s more than 130,000 Latino students do not have the same access to educational opportunities as their White peers, resulting in widespread and significant disparities. Latino students are less likely to have teachers of their same race or to enroll in advanced courses, are more likely to be chronically absent to class, and face harsher disciplinary practices than White students, even for similar behaviors. These disparities translate into education outcomes that have long-term negative impacts on the students themselves and the state’s economic health.

Latino students face policies and practices that often are biased puts them at a disadvantage. In addition, some of our Latino students are facing further challenges due to the complexities of learning a new language or navigating the immigration process for themselves or their families. 

  • Latino students are two times more likely to be suspended than their white counterparts. Latino students are less likely to have a teacher of their ethnicity: although 25 percent of Connecticut students are 

  • Latino, only 4 percent of teachers are Latino. Chronic absenteeism is also significantly higher, with Latino students missing ten percent or more days of the school year close to three times the rate of their white peers.

These facts have a direct, immediate impact on academic achievement:

  •  In 2014 Latino students in Connecticut who missed less than nine days of school per year had a graduation rate of 86.6 percent, compared to the 38 percent graduation rate for chronically absent students. 

  • The graduation rate for Latino students is 76 percent, trailing the 93 percent graduation rates for Whites. White students meet or exceed Smarter Balance Math and English standards at twice the rate of Latino students. 

  • Average SAT scores for Latinos are 192 points below white students. The gap is even wider for students who are English Learners (about one in ten Latino students fall in this category), who trail by 321 points.

The report recommends policies to reduce inequity and support student success, including expanding anti-bias training for all school personnel, increase the number of Latino teachers, expanding state efforts and support for teachers of color, expand access to programs and interventions related to chronic absenteeism, and improve data collection regarding school discipline. To ensure that schools have the necessary funding to offer a full range of courses and programs, Connecticut Voices for Children proposes funding reforms, including fully funding PILOT and a statewide property tax for education.

 

Issue Area:
Education