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The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and the National Women’s Law Center released a report that outlines what are sometimes insurmountable barriers to staying in school and how poor educational outcomes result in limited job opportunities, lower lifetime earnings, and increased risk of economic insecurity for African American women.

Key findings in the report underscore the need to reauthorize the ESEA to improve outcomes.  For example, only 50 percent of predominately African American schools offer Calculus and 63 percent offer Physics, as compared to 71 percent white high school students who attend schools where the full range of math and science courses are offered.  This impacts students’ competitiveness for college and careers.

Similar disparities persist in access to extra-curricular activities: 58 percent of white girls participate in sports, compared to 42 percent of African American girls. In school discipline, African American females are six times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers, despite research showing that they do not misbehave more.  The report details the role that race and gender stereotypes play in influencing educators’ disciplinary decisions.  These disparities set the stage for alarming trends later in life that effect education, earning potential and social mobility.

“Due to systemic barriers in education rooted in racial and gender bias, African-American girls are faring worse than the national average for girls on almost every measure of academic achievement.”