RALEIGH, NC (News and Observer) - (T. Keung Hui | News and Observer) - As Americans mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day, new report cards have been released showing the state of racial equity in North Carolina's public schools.
The Youth Justice Project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice says the project reveals significant racial gaps in how students from different groups are treated. The Racial Equity Report Cards use public data on academic achievement, school discipline and juvenile court involvement to provide a picture of all 115 North Carolina school districts and the state.
Black students are more likely to be suspended than their white classmates, according to the report cards. During the 2015-16 school year, black students in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system were 10 times more likely to be suspended than white students, 8.7 times more likely in Durham and 7.8 times more likely in Wake County.
"The Racial Equity Report Cards are intended to be a launching point for community education and discussion," Peggy Nicholson, co-director of the Youth Justice Project, said in a written statement released Friday. "They are not meant as an attack on the critically important public institutions that serve our youth, but rather, as a call-to-action for students, parents, advocates, policymakers, and institutional stakeholders to collectively examine the causes of racial inequity in their community and develop solutions that will help young people, especially youth of color, avoid and escape the school-to-prison pipeline."
The coalition says disparities such as those seen in suspension rates mean more children of color are funneled into the school-to-prison pipeline, a system of policies and practices that pushes students out of school and into the juvenile and adult criminal systems.