In Atlanta, the proverbial black mecca, 11 percent of black students were proficient in mathematics in the eighth grade, compared with 79 percent of white students, in 2015, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Atlanta, unfortunately is far from alone in producing these horrid scholastic statistics. According to the Southern Education Foundation, more than half of all public school students in U.S. cities are from low-income households.
When you juxtapose race and class continues to confound education leaders and benefit or penalize children based on where they fall on the social-cultural spectra—black to white, rich to poor. With the increasing concentration of both students of color and poverty in the public school system, the challenges to achieving universal success in mathematics, English-language arts and social studies remain significant.
Students of color cannot wait until the achievement gap in mathematics, for example, is closed before district leaders commit to meaningful computer science education in primary and secondary school. In Chicago the proficiency rates were 11 and 72 percent respectively. This is in the context of Atlanta and Chicago being the two most diverse and most segregated cities in the United States.
Residential segregation is a driver increasing racial segregation in public schools. That trend is continuing unabated across the country, and the achievement gap is yawning alongside it. Waiting for a universal closure of academic achievement gaps is tantamount to waiting for a utopian American society.