Narrowing the racial achievement gap
Rapper Jay-Z famously once said, “Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.”
Pittsburgh Public Schools released data during its five-year Strategic Plan unveiling this spring that while 80 percent of White students graduated from district high schools in 2015, only 64 percent of Black students graduated.
In 2013, the district had its highest high school graduation rate in the five-year period that the district provided in its report, 77 percent. That year, 83 percent of White students graduated, and 73 percent of Black students graduated. In the two years thereafter, the White graduation rate dropped 3 percent; for Black students, it was a 9 percent dip.
Dr. Anthony Hamlet, PPS Superintendent, acknowledged such achievement gaps during a meeting with the New Pittsburgh Courier and WESA-FM (90.5) at the Board of Education headquarters in Oakland, Aug. 10. In a district that’s 53 percent Black, he knows it’s a glaring issue.
Dr. Regina B. Holley, school board president, wrote in a public letter at the Strategic Plan’s unveiling that “dramatic gaps exist between the performance of White students and African American students in every grade level. Our graduation rate has dropped, enrollment continues to decline, and disciplinary actions have disproportionately fallen on students of color, causing them lost instructional time.”
She added in the letter, “We have much work to do.”