An analysis of student behavioral and academic measures shows an “alarming” disproportionality among racial and ethnic groups, according to a report the Clarke County Board of Education is scheduled to see at the board’s Thursday work session. “In particular, the performance data of African American students in the Clarke County School District extremely concerns,” according to the report. African American students are far more likely to be put into special education classes or be suspended or expelled than white, Asian or Hispanic students, according to the report, which also outlines steps the school district’s administration plans to take to correct the discrepancies. Those plans include “maximizing the district’s urgency and diligence to improve academic performance” and “maximizing the implementation of a college and career readiness culture.”
State’s standardized end-of-grade tests
The data shows “it is apparent that there is an immediate need for a clarion call to improve the results in the school district,” according to the report’s executive summary. And the percentage of African American elementary and middle school students scoring “proficient” on the state’s standardized end-of-grade tests in math and English language arts is far below the district average. Hispanic students also lag on those measures, though not to the same degree as African American students, according to the report. Just 17 percent of African American third- and fifth-graders scored proficient in English language arts in last spring’s testing, and only 17.7 percent in math. The proficiency rate in math for sixth- and eighth-grade African American students was 15.8 percent, and in English language arts, 14.6 percent. Among Hispanic students, 28.8 percent were proficient in third- and fifth-grade language arts, and 36.3 percent in third- and fifth-grade math; 21.4 percent of sixth- and eighth -graders were skilled in English language arts and 27.7 percent in math.
The report also noted district-wide discrepancies in discipline and particular education statistics. The rates for white students are far higher — 68.4 percent proficiency in third- and fifth-grade language arts, for example, and 67.8 percent in third- and fifth-grade math. Black students account for about 54 percent of the school district’s overall enrollment, but 68.6 percent of students with disabilities. Black students also account for 79.9 percent of discipline incidents, 83.2 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 74 percent of expulsions, according to the report. The report even broke down the data by schools, most of which showed data consistent with the district-wide trends. At Alps Road Elementary, where 78.4 percent of the students are black, 96.5 percent of the discipline incidents involved black students, for example.