In the United States, long after the words “land of the free” were written on the back of a letter in Franklin Scott Key’s pocket, racial inequality is still a reality in our world today, even in our county of Westchester. This particularly comes to light when we disaggregate education data by race. African-American students, when compared to their peers, have disproportionately low high school graduation and college/career readiness rates, while simultaneously experiencing high suspension dropout and school suspension rates.
Addressing Educational Disparities
In response, Westchester Children’s Association, Student Advocacy, the Westchester County African American Advisory Board, YWCA of White Plains & Central Westchester, and the Westchester County’s Coordinated Children’s Services Initiative (CCSI), initiated a series of responses geared toward addressing these educational disparities. The goal is to improve both the school experience and academic outcomes for African-American students.
One of those responses is the March 11 sold-out event, “Raising the Bar on Academic Achievement”, which will be held at the Judicial Institute at Pace Law School in White Plains. Dr. Edward Fergus will be the keynote speaker, and County Executive Rob Astorino will be providing remarks.
At the event, we will be distributing the infographic displayed below, which underscores the unequal academic experience of African Americans in Westchester. Today at the WCA office, we are still fielding calls from various schools and organizations asking if they can participate in the Raising the Bar event. The incredible response to this summit can only mean this: people are paying attention and demanding solutions to a problem that burdened the generations before us, and still haunts us today.
NOTE: Place your mouse over the chart bars to see the specific rate for a particular group.
Raising the Bar Data Sources
Data for graduation, college readiness, and dropout rates can be found on the NY State Education Department website. Data about suspension rates came from Student Advocacy’s report, “Solutions not Suspensions,” published in November 2013.