Background Studies on the Achievement Gap
Numerous studies show that minority students are less likely than white students to have access to a full range of math and science courses necessary for college readiness. A report released by the Georgetown University center on Education and the Workforce states that admission practices and inequality in state education funding are creating two separate and unequal tracks to public colleges and universities.
Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math jobs, relative to their presence in the overall U.S. workforce’
Low-income and minority students continue to face significant disparities in access to quality educational opportunities and resources at the K-12 level – including access to services critical for college success, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.
A study, “UNDERSTANDING RACIAL INEQUITY IN ALACHUA COUNTY,” prepared by the University of Florida, Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) reveals the following:
“As portrayed by the quantitative data, greater disparities appear in terms of economic well-being, education…
First, both the experts and minorities widely recognize that providing a high-quality educational experience for them will have a significant impact. A successfully educated resident will have a higher lifetime income, more and better employment opportunities, and is less likely to become involved with the criminal justice system.
Second, finding employment is often seen as a challenging task by minority residents. More jobs are needed that pay a living wage; more employers are needed who are willing to hire minorities…”
The Alachua County Florida Public Schools, District Education Equity Plan reveals the following:
“Alachua County Public Schools serves approximately 29,500 students and employs an instructional staff of just over 2000. The district operates twenty-three elementary schools, seven middle schools, and eight high schools. Approximately 44% of its students are white, 34% are African- American, 10% are Hispanic, 5% are Asian, and 7% are identified by the state of Florida as ‘Other.’ More than 66% of Alachua County’s students qualify for free or reduced priced meals. Twenty-two of the district’s twenty-three elementary schools receive some level of supplemental federal funding support under Title I, calculated by economic need criteria.
While the district consistently receives a high rating from the Florida Department of Education, it continues to have the state’s widest achievement gap between white and black students. African American students’ performance on state and district assessments is well below that of their white peers across all core curriculum areas. For example, the results of the 2019 Florida Standard Assessment (FSA) for English Language Arts show that white student achievement ranked 6th in the state, while African American student achievement ranked 51st in Florida. On the math FSA, white student achievement ranked 17th and African American student achievement ranked 60th in the state.
Alachua County Schools has a current achievement gap of 45 percentage points in ELA and 44 percentage points in math between the percentage of white students scoring Level 3 or above and the percentage of black students scoring Level 3 or above on the Florida Standards Assessment. According to 2019 results, 29% of black learners scored a level 3 or above in ELA and 28% scored a level 3 or above in math on FSA.
The academic achievement of African American and Hispanic students is consistently below that of their non-Hispanic white peers, regardless of income. African American students are underrepresented in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge (AICE), gifted, magnet, and other academically rigorous courses and programs.”
Studies reveals that Parent engagement decreases as students progress through school. Parent engagement significantly decreases from elementary to middle school.