Jim Crow Education

Jim Crow Education
by Annie Waldman and Erica Green | ProPublica |
#165 | #race #education


The biggest problem in American education, according to our lead article two weeks ago (#163), is not the achievement gap. It’s the opportunity myth. We promise kids of color that if they work hard, they’ll be rewarded. This is a lie. Across the country, we’re comfortable offering a separate and unequal education to Black and Brown students, as long as white kids get the resources they need. This article focuses on Charlottesville, Virginia — a liberal, affluent college town not unlike Berkeley — where:

  • white kids are 4x as likely as Black kids to be in the gifted program

  • Black kids are 4x as likely as white kids to be held back a grade

  • Black kids are 5x as likely as white kids to be suspended

  • white kids are 3x as likely as Black kids to receive an advanced diploma, which increases access to more elite colleges

School officials in Charlottesville cite socioeconomic factors, even when poor white kids outperform their Black peers. “I’m not trying to make excuses,” the superintendent says, arguing that test scores are only one measure of success. (16 min)

What do you think? What needs to be done to counteract the opportunity myth? Hit reply to share your thoughts.