Racial Disparities in Educational Opportunities in Pennsylvania: A First Look at New Civil Rights Data

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Publication Date
November 2016

Abstract

We know that segregation and educational inequity are harmful to students and weaken school systems. Yet 62 years after Brown v. Board of Education rendered the doctrine of “separate but equal” unconstitutional, it has been well-documented that Pennsylvania schools are among the most deeply segregated and inequitably funded in the nation.

In this PACER brief, we analyze a broad range of indicators from the federal government’s most recently released Civil Rights Data Collection to examine disparities in access to high quality education in Pennsylvania; and how these disparities compare to those found in the region and across the nation.  What we found is deeply troubling.  Black and Hispanic students in Pennsylvania are less likely than white students in Pennsylvania—and less likely than black and Hispanic students across the country and region—to have access to essential learning opportunities.   And they are more likely to encounter adverse experiences that decrease their chances of academic success.  

The disparities we highlight in this report show how Pennsylvania’s persistent racial segregation and disparities in school funding are having concrete impact on the experiences of our students.  

Authors

  • Austin Slaughter
  • Della Moran
  • David Lapp
  • Joshua Lin