Tuesday, July 27, 2021

WalletHub study ranks Texas at No. 8 for racial equity in education

By Adam McCann
Financial Writer

It’s been decades since the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education declared school segregation unconstitutional in 1954, though it took years for schools to actually adopt that ruling. Now, no one can be denied enrollment in a school due to the color of their skin, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that educational conditions are equal for all students. A recent study found that school districts that have a high concentration of white students receive $23 billion more per year in funding than those that have a high concentration of non-white students. Lower funding can lead to lower quality education, which can affect not only a person’s income trajectory but also their career trajectory for the rest of their life.

Large discrepencies still exist from one state to another when it comes to equality of educational opportunities. (Photo: Santi Vedri / Unsplash)

“If educational opportunities are equal for people of all races, this will create more opportunities for minorities to advance into areas in which they are currently underrepresented, such as executive positions in companies and politics. Equal opportunity for higher education can provide more access to the scores of careers that require advanced degrees, too,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Equality in education not only impacts career potential, but it also can contribute to better health, greater political participation and countless other benefits. Perhaps most importantly, a level playing field in the classroom may help reduce the income gap between white and black Americans, provided that we also address pay discrimination in the workplace head on.”

In order to determine which states have the most racial equality in education at a time when protests against racism and inequality are happening all across the U.S., WalletHub compared the 50 states across six key metrics. The data compares the difference between white and black Americans in areas such as high school and college degrees, test scores and graduation rates, coming up with a score based on a possible 100. Texas ranked eighth out of all states with a composite score of 59.76. Wyoming topped the list at 75.03. Wisconsin scored the lowest among all 50 states at 13.44.

“One of the best ways to help reduce educational inequality is to make sure that all school districts receive similar funding regardless of the economic class or racial composition of their students,” Gonzalez said. “Currently, districts with high concentrations of minorities are often underfunded. In addition to promoting equal funding in public education, we should work on increasing access to higher education for minorities in underserved, low-income communities by simplifying the application process for aid, increasing need-based aid and creating special savings programs for low-income families.”


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