Achievement Gap

Let's Not Lose Sight of How We Treat Black Girls in the Classroom

There’s been a lot of talk and action lately around how to improve education and outcomes for America’s black male youth—and with good reason. But we—women, Americans, everyone—need to make sure that we aren’t losing track of young black girls in the process, and recent data from the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Education shows that we might be in danger of doing just that. Consider these facts from a recent New York Times story:
From 2011 to 2012, black girls in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide were suspended at a rate of 12 percent, compared with a rate of just 2 percent for white girls, and more than girls of any other race or ethnicity. In Georgia, the ratio of black girls receiving suspensions in the same period compared with white girls was 5 to 1, and in Henry County, that ratio was 2.3 to 1.
This cannot continue. The negative impact that suspensions have on students are widely accepted, with study after study showing that they are linked to an increased likelihood of future behavior problems, academic difficulty, detachment and dropout. With black women earning only 64 cents on the dollar when compared to white men, we don’t have any time to waste.
Valentina Payne
Valentina Payne joined Bellwether Education Partners in 2021 as chief of staff to Andy Rotherham on the External Relations team. Prior to Bellwether, she spent seven years at brightbeam, where she most recently served as its chief growth officer, overseeing operations, finance, fundraising, and strategic growth of the organization.

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