In my article Race Counts in Sacramento and California, too, I discussed how certain key issues highlighted the disparities for people of color face in Sacramento. I quoted that Black and Hispanics have some of the lowest employment rates, life expectancies, and graduation rates.
In November 2017, the California Department of Education updated the California School Dashboard, a website that ranks all California school districts and schools’ performance through color-based scores–blue being the best, red being the worst.
Despite how dissimilar these schools and districts are, a constant were the outstanding number of reds for minorities in categories such as graduation rates and suspension rates. The data closely correlates with evidence found in Race Counts that illuminated the imbalances in others issues like economic opportunity, health care access, and crime and justice between Hispanics and Blacks, and Asians and Whites.
According to the California Department of Education website’s DataQuest, from 2015 to 2016, nearly 12% of Hispanics and 17% of Blacks dropped out of school compared to 3% of Asians and 6% of Whites. While the statistics might appear less dramatic because there are, in quantity, a larger imbalance of White and Hispanic students, but that Asian students only outnumber Black students by only ten thousand and have statistics like this is startling.
The Sacramento City Unified School District nearly duplicates the state’s low average ratings. On the California School Dashboard, graduation rates for Black students are in orange while for Asian students it is in green; for suspension rates, Black students receive red and Asian students receive green.
I took the liberty of searching for my own school, Sacramento Charter High School, which is majority Black and Hispanic, and I found that the all student suspension rate is in red, while the graduation rate is ranked in green. This sharp contrast begs the question of how the two corresponding rates could be so colossally different.
So what does the Sacramento City Unified School District plan to do with the information presented in the Dashboard?
“It is extremely concerning that our Latino, African American, Foster Youth and English Learner students are experiencing poorer outcomes, while encountering obstacles to success at higher rates, than other student groups,” responded SCUSD Superintendent Jorge Aguilar in an email. “Recognizing that the California School Dashboard is based on prior year results and that students deserve that conditions be changed in the present to advance equity, access and social justice, Sacramento City Unified has launched its own internal dashboard to track the same – and more – student data and performance indicators in real-time. This internal system will help us monitor and understand the conditions that are resulting in positive outcomes for some students, while identifying high risk and lower performing students earlier in the school year, allowing us to intervene and help these students overcome obstacles before it is too late and the outcomes are viewed as just another statistic.”
With evidence like this on Race Counts and the California School Dashboard, it is becoming more and more evident how much race impacts the quality of living in society.