In many parts of the country—especially in urban centers and rural areas—too many of the nation’s youth, particularly minority and low-income youth and students with disabilities are not receiving the education they deserve.  There are long-term and persistent racial and ethnic disparities in the rates of dropout, discipline, funding, college application and admittance, and access to information technology in our nation’s public schools.

 

To give a sampling of these disparities for the most recent years reported at the national level, white students had average scores of at least 26 points higher than African-American students in every subject tested.[1] The gap between Hispanic and white students in grades 4 and 8 in mathematics and reading was between 21 and 26 points on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scale (0-500 scale).[2] While the national American high school graduation rate for white students was 90%, it was only 61-72% for Southeast Asian Americans, 61% for Hispanic students, and 81% for African-Americans.[3]

 

As said by the United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the “glaring inequities” in our nation’s education system are “economically unsustainable and morally unacceptable,” and declared “the fight for equal educational opportunity” to be an immediate and pressing “fight for social justice.” These words truly reflect the values of the Jewish community and should serve as a call to action for those concerned with social justice.

 

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs believes that: 

 

The community relations field should:

[1] http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2009455.asp

[2] http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/studies/2011485.pdf

[3] http://www.advancingjustice.org/pdf/Community_of_Contrast.pdf

 
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