Black and Latino parents have even more pronounced perceptions of racial disparities in the U.S. education system, according to a new poll.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund and Anzalone Liszt Grove Research released the second annual New Education Majority poll on Tuesday, May 30, exploring how minority parents and families view the American education system’s success, or lack thereof, in teaching their children.
The organizations say the poll’s findings come at a critically important time for public education, as states are currently developing education plans as part of their obligations under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
“Black and Latino parents know that their children aren’t getting the best education we can provide them,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “These results should be a clarion call for policymakers who must come to terms with the fact that for any education policy to be successful, it must be responsive to the needs of the children who make up a majority of public school students in America.”
Some of the key findings:
• The lack of funding for students of color is seen as the biggest cause of racial disparities in education.
• Parents and family members of color whose child’s teachers are mostly white are more likely to believe schools are “not really trying” to educate students of color than those with mostly Black or mostly Latino teachers.
• New education majority parents and families continue to place a premium on high expectations and academic rigor for their children.
The Leadership Conference said the poll results show that states are still not sufficiently responsive to the needs and desires of parents, families and communities of color.
Their recommendations to combat the issue include remedying longstanding disparities in resources between schools and districts with more black and Latino children and those with more white children.
The Leadership Conference also recommended removing barriers to participation and success in advanced courses for black and Latino children, opening decision-making processes to those families in ways that allow for meaningful participation, especially regarding priorities and funding.
The organization suggests inventorying resource distribution in schools and districts, including strong teachers and rigorous courses, to ensure black and Latino children have their fair share and implementing ESSA in a way that breaks down systemic barriers and increases educational opportunity for underserved children.
“This is a critically important year for public education in the United States,” Henderson said. “In 2017, the federal government and every state will decide if they truly believe that all children can learn.
“These plans are an opportunity for a state to make a clear declaration about its belief in the education of all children and a commitment to ensuring children get the education they deserve,” he said.