Access and Equity in Our Public Schools

To provide a clear understanding of how our states are doing at providing equal access to each state’s best schools, Lost Opportunity uses NCES data to compute the chances that, compared to a White, non-Latino student, a historically disadvantaged student (minority or low-income) will attend a high school ranked in the top quartile in the state.  Essentially, what chance does a Black, Latino, or poor student, compared to a middle-class White student, have of avoiding the drop-out factories and studying in a college-prep high school?

States Sorted by Opportunity to Learn Index
 Rank    State Native American    Black      Latino     FARL     OTLI  
1 Louisiana * 53% 101% 112% 96% 100%
2 Alaska 92% 93% 106% 70% 93%
3 Oregon 97% 68% 97% 42% 93%
4 Vermont 46% 1% 114% 86% 93%
5 Idaho 106% 107% 78% 95% 82%
6 Oklahoma 109% 45% 63% 84% 81%
7 Hawaii 98% 56% 83% 70% 77%
8 Delaware 99% 74% 66% 69% 73%
9 Maine 74% 56% 93% 87% 69%
10 New Mexico 40% 65% 75% 59% 68%
11 New Hampshire 111% 105% 63% 66% 67%
12 Utah 87% 48% 61% 81% 64%
13 Washington 72% 69% 60% 66% 64%
14 Indiana 89% 56% 70% 65% 61%
15 North Carolina 29% 60% 71% 60% 61%
16 Virginia 84% 46% 124% 61% 61%
17 Kentucky 78% 60% 65% 70% 60%
18 Alabama 91% 57% 65% 68% 59%
19 Mississippi 59% 58% 78% 72% 58%
20 South Carolina 112% 55% 96% 54% 58%
21 Florida 89% 50% 65% 57% 57%
22 Georgia 87% 54% 69% 50% 56%
23 Minnesota 43% 53% 69% 64% 56%
24 California 68% 52% 54% 43% 54%
25 Tennessee 93% 53% 64% No data 54%
26 Arkansas 107% 44% 87% 78% 52%
27 Arizona 43% 69% 51% 41% 51%
28 Rhode Island 89% 45% 46% 53% 47%
29 Colorado 82% 44% 43% 45% 45%
30 Wisconsin 90% 31% 55% No data 45%
31 Missouri 84% 40% 57% 57% 44%
32 Maryland 58% 33% 66% 39% 40%
33 South Dakota 24% 86% 76% 78% 40%
34 West Virginia 113% 38% 44% 96% 40%
35 Iowa 67% 33% 42% 76% 39%
36 Texas 83% 43% 37% 40% 39%
37 Nevada 139% 27% 43% No data 38%
38 Illinois 61% 33% 43% 32% 37%
39 Wyoming 28% 26% 40% 84% 36%
40 New Jersey 67% 30% 39% 33% 35%
41 North Dakota 29% 46% 66% 104% 35%
42 Pennsylvania 88% 28% 53% 55% 35%
43 Kansas 65% 27% 34% 52% 33%
44 Connecticut 92% 33% 30% 30% 32%
45 Montana 21% 54% 74% 68% 31%
46 Nebraska 66% 24% 31% 85% 31%
47 District of Columbia 25% 28% 48% 30% 29%
48 Massachusetts 55% 32% 24% 25% 27%
49 Ohio 67% 21% 62% 58% 26%
50 Michigan 61% 20% 43% 47% 25%
51 New York 45% 25% 25% 54% 25%

 

* Louisiana’s schools, predominately populated by disadvantage students, rank high for providing an Opportunity to Learn, and rank low in the percentage of students achieving national proficiency or above.

Overall, the picture is not promising for our nation’s historically disadvantaged students.

Opportunity to Learn for Disadvantaged Students:  51%(1)

Disadvantaged Student Group(2) Opportunity to Learn
(compared to White, non-Latino students
Native American 61%        
Asian American(3) 97%        
Black 47%        
Latino 53%        
Low-income (FARL(4))

53%        

 

NOTES

(1) The Schott 50 State Report on the Opportunity to Learn in America, The Schott Foundation for Public Education, May 2009

(2) Total enrollments (2005/6): Native American: 130,968; Asian American: 1,950,425; Black, non-Latino: 5,570,253; Latino: 5,066,273; White, non-Latino: 10,482,662; FARL: 10,260,933.

(3) Performance for sub-groups of the Asian American populations (Hmong, Cambodian, etc.) varies drastically. Further federal and state disaggregation of data is needed to more accurately speak to performance results of Asian Americans.

(4) Students eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch. This measure is similar to the percentage of children living in poverty: Native American (32%); Asian American (20%); Black, non-Latino (41%); Latino (34%); White, non-Latino (32%).