What’s the difference between a state’s racial makeup and its level of educational attainment?
And why is it so important to understand the difference?
The answers may surprise you.
The National Association of State Public Schools (NASPS) is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to increasing access to quality education for all students.NASPS has released a report on its findings on racial and ethnic diversity in state public schools.
The report found that, while the average percentage of non-Hispanic whites in state schools increased from 11 percent to 17 percent between 2007 and 2020, the percentage of African Americans increased from 9 percent to 12 percent.
But racial diversity in a state is not necessarily an indicator of whether that state’s students have access to the best education.
“There are many other variables that can affect the outcomes of students and families,” says Natalie Zuckerman, executive director of NASPS.
“For example, if your city is overwhelmingly white and your state is predominantly black, then your students will be less likely to be successful in college, stay out of prison and be less inclined to commit crimes.”
States with higher levels of racial and/or ethnic diversity are more likely to have lower graduation rates and graduation rates are lower for African Americans than for whites.
The differences are even greater in terms of whether students from non-White backgrounds are more successful academically.
In contrast, students from White backgrounds who are more diverse have higher graduation rates than students from other races.
“For students from low-income families, it means they have more opportunities to succeed academically,” says Jennifer Pahl, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Pahl is a member of NASP’s board of directors.
She says that when you have more diversity in your schools, that means your students are more engaged in school and are more involved in school sports.
And those students may have more academic success.
But how does race factor into this?
What do states that are predominately White have to do to ensure that their students are receiving the best educational outcomes?
In the case of African American students, the answer may be education.
According to the NASPS report, “African Americans are more than four times as likely as their non-African-American counterparts to be enrolled in high school.
That means that African Americans are much more likely than their nonwhite counterparts to receive higher-quality and higher-tuition-bearing diplomas.”
In other words, schools are better equipped to meet students’ needs and make them the most successful students in their communities.
That may be one reason that schools in more diverse states have lower poverty rates.
But if you are wondering whether your state’s education level is an indicator to whether you are most likely to graduate from high school, then the answer is yes.
A study conducted by the University of Washington School of Public Health found that students in states with the highest levels of educational diversity are less likely than those in less diverse states to receive a B average in math and reading, which would indicate they may not be as successful in their careers.
That could be a result of the high level of racial diversity of their schools, as well as lower student achievement, the researchers found.
In addition, there are other factors that can influence a state or school’s educational outcomes.
“The key to determining whether a state has an educational success story is looking at the racial composition of the student population,” says Pahl.
“If the racial makeup is different in the school, it’s harder to see the school’s success story.”
The National Conference on State Legislations (NCSL) is an independent, nonpartisan organization that seeks to increase access to information about state and local government and the policies and practices that shape public policy.
Its mission is to provide the public with a balanced, accurate, and transparent look at state government and to ensure they are responsive to the needs of the public.
To find out more, please visit www.ncsl.org.