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Commissioner: Minority achievement gap widening in Missouri

4:33 PM, Aug 23, 2013   |    comments
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By Tracy Clemons

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KSDK) - The scores from the first round of MSIP 5 annual performance results were disappointing for some districts -- Normandy schools had the lowest scores in the state.

"As a new team coming in, we knew that the district was unaccredited. We knew that that would be the the academic aspect of it," Normandy Schools Superintendent Ty McNichols said. "And so, the plans we've been developing fit right into the areas we know are of major concern."

Missouri Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro identified one area that will take special focus.

"We were very disappointed in the widening achievement gap that we see for minorities. Particularly for African American students in the state," Nicastro said.

Eight two percent of St. Louis Public Schools' 25,200 students are black. Ninety seven percent of Riverview Gardens' 5,900 students are black. And ninety seven percent of Normandy's 4,150 students are black.

"When I look at these numbers, there is a racial component, there's no question," UMSL Education professor Dr. Kathleen Sullivan Brown said. "But it's also about the intense poverty, the concentrated poverty in some of these communities."

Of the four highest performing districts in our area, 15 percent of Parkway's 17,280 students are black. Five percent of Lindbergh's nearly 5,870 students are black. Nineteen percent of Clayton's 2,510 students are black. And sixteen percent of Ladue's nearly 3,980 students are black.

"If you look at the top scoring districts, many of them have significant African American students and other minority population. Those children are able to do well," Brown said.

"I would suggest, if the media wants to look at another interesting gap, is the class," McNichols said. "Look at the class and see how that also breaks out. One might make the argument that the significant differences in resources also might be reflected in that gap as well."

Normandy and Riverview Gardens will have fewer resources now thanks to students transferring out.


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