Equity & Diversity Report Roundup

Studies Analyze Disparities in Ferguson District

By Sarah D. Sparks & Evie Blad — August 26, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A new data analysis focuses on racial disparities in the Ferguson, Mo., schools at a time when that community has attracted national attention for public protests over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

Shaun R. Harper and Charles H.F. Davis III, directors of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, found that 68 percent of white school-age children who live in Ferguson or the neighboring town of Florissant do not attend public schools in the 11,200-student Ferguson-Florissant school district, which is 78 percent black and 75 percent poor. The public schools did not open as planned for the first day of school on Aug. 14 and remained closed through Friday of last week out of safety concerns over protests of the death of Michael Brown, 18. But other area public and private schools—many of which are predominantly white—did open.

“School closure is disproportionately affecting African-American children,” Mr. Davis said about the analysis. “Their white peers have been in school somewhere for a week, presumably learning and likely getting even further ahead of their African-American neighbors.”

Moreover, separate data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection show that in 2011-12, black students made up 77.1 percent of total enrollment in the Ferguson-Florissant school district, but that 87.1 percent of students without disabilities who received an out-of-school suspension were black. The discipline gap is even more dramatic when examining the proportion of black students who were suspended more than once: 7.2 percent of black students, versus 1.6 percent of white students. (There are other districts that serve students in the Ferguson area, but their enrollments are so small and so predominantly black that the disciplinary data draw from a very small number of white students, making it difficult to reliably analyze.)

A version of this article appeared in the August 27, 2014 edition of Education Week as Studies Analyze Disparities in Ferguson District

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Reported Essay What the Indian Caste System Taught Me About Racism in American Schools
Born and raised in India, reporter Eesha Pendharkar isn’t convinced that America’s anti-racist efforts are enough to make students of color feel like they belong.
7 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Reported Essay Our Student Homeless Numbers Are Staggering. Schools Can Be a Bridge to a Solution
The pandemic has only made the student homelessness situation more volatile. Schools don’t have to go it alone.
5 min read
Conceptual illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Equity & Diversity How Have the Debates Over Critical Race Theory Affected You? Share Your Story
We want to hear how new constraints on teaching about racism have affected your schools.
1 min read
Mary Hassdyk for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Opinion When Educational Equity Descends Into Educational Nihilism
Schools need to buckle down to engage and educate kids—not lower (or eliminate) expectations in the name of “equity.”
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty