How We Can Help Black Female Students
What happens when an entire population has been largely absent from the discourse around public education? Unfortunately, this has happened to girls of color, and it has fueled assumptions that they are doing just fine and has allowed the significant barriers they face in school and life to go unaddressed.
“Unlocking Opportunity for African-American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity,” a new report from the National Women’s Law Center (where I work) and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, takes a comprehensive look at the many impediments to African-American girls’ educational success and the poor educational and economic outcomes many girls face.
The findings are disturbing: Because of pervasive, systemic barriers in education rooted in racial and gender bias and stereotypes, African-American girls are faring worse than the national average for girls on almost every measure of academic achievement.
In sharp contrast to reports of the academic success of girls overall, African-American girls are more likely than any other group of young females to receive poor grades and be held back a year and are less likely than any other group of girls, except Native American girls, to complete high school on time. The report also documents the close connection between these school outcomes and bleak economic futures for African-American students as a whole.