Report: African-American Students Are More Isolated Now Than 40 Years Ago

Research says the achievement gap won't close without economic equality.

Posted: 08/28/2013 10:53 AM EDT

A new report by the Economic Policy Institute says the isolation of socially and economically disadvantaged African-American students is increasing. Black students, according to the report, are more segregated than 40 years ago.

Although Black student achievement has steadily risen during this period, the achievement gap still persists as socio-economic disparities continue to be an obstacle African-Americans face, according to Richard Rothstein, author of "For Public Schools, Segregation Then, Segregation Since: Education and the Unfinished March." 

"The achievement gap persists because the same social and instructional forces that have caused black student achievement to rise have apparently also caused white student achievement to rise," Rothstein writes.

Full equality in education can't be achieved without economic equality and integration, he continues to write in the report. 

Moreover Rothstein says policymakers have "developed a narrative of school failure," by focusing only on the slowly narrowing achievement gap between Blacks and whites, instead of the reasons Black students' performance has increased. 

"Examining the causes of the improvement might inspire policymakers to wonder what policies, if any, were responsible for the gains and then try to intensify them."

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(Photo: REUTERS/Tim Shaffer/Microsoft/Handout)

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