Recently we released The State of Black Education, along with an online data tool which looks at student and teacher diversity across the country. In our review of the literature and data, we indicate that, many times, policies created to support Black students come from data that doesn’t represent their unique environments and contexts. Thus, we push for policies that ensure any initiatives for Black students begin with data specific to where they are from.
Publicly available data about Black children are often difficult to access or not aggregated at the national level. As such, this data tool is an attempt to allow stakeholders to examine the demographics for Black students exclusively and look at these demographics as a function of state, region, and country as a whole. The data tool also explores Black teacher demographic and how they relate those of Black students for each state (where applicable).
Below are some examples of questions you could answer with this data tool.
- How many Black students attend public schools in (state)? How many Black teachers?
- Of all students in (state), what percent of them are Black? What percent of teachers are Black?
- Of all Black students across the country, what percentage attend school in (state)
- Which states have the highest numbers of Black students? Black teachers?
- Which region has the largest share of Black students? Black teachers?
- In what type of locale (urban, suburban, rural, etc.) do most Black students attend across the country? Across (state?)
Below are the answers to some of the above questions if we look at Georgia specifically.
Georgia has 646,675 Black students accounting for almost 40% of the state population. Also, over a third of Black students in Georgia go to schools that have a population that is majority Black. All of the Black students in Georgia account for 8.5% of all Black students across the country. Also, almost half of the Black students in Georgia attend schools in suburban areas. Georgia is in the top 25 percentile for number of Black students in the country. Georgia has 28,935 Black teachers accounting for almost 25% of all teachers in Georgia and 11.4% of all Black teachers across the country. Lastly, Georgia also has the second highest number of black teachers in the country, behind Texas.
*The most recent national statistic for teacher diversity shows Black teachers as 7% of the public school workforce (NTPS, 2019). Our national number is showing 8.95% and is based on raw teacher counts from each state that made data available for this analysis. We are missing teacher data from a number of states which we believe skews this national statistic. Missing data were due to states not making these data publicly available or not responding to our requests in time to be included in this analysis. We will update as we receive more data.
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS), “Public School Teacher Data File,” 2017–18. See Digest of Education Statistics 2019, table 209.22.
We also combined the student and teacher data to create a graphic representation of Black student-to-Black teacher ratios. This will give you an idea of which states are doing well (and not so well) when it comes to providing Black students with access to Black teachers. The graph shows a scatterplot with every state’s student-teacher ratio. If we highlight Georgia again, this is what you would find:
While Black teachers in Georgia, hold a large share of the population, the state still has work to do to provide Black students with adequate access. Black teachers are 24.6% of the workforce whereas Black students are 37%of the student population. When looking at student-teacher ratios, there are 22 Black students for every Black teacher which eclipses the average student-teacher ratio across the country which is 1:16.
We also looked at Black students’ performance and attainment across the country. With these views, you can look at each state and examine levels of proficiency in reading and math for 4th and 8th graders respectively. You can also look at college enrollment and graduation rates for Black students at 2-year and 4-year colleges.
If we keep with our example of Georgia, we see that only 17% of 4th grade Black students are proficient or above in reading and 14% of 8th grade Black students are proficient or above in math. As for college enrollment and attainment, almost 30% of all students seeking a 4-year degree in Georgia are Black, and 36% of those students are graduating within 6 years.