Data show that African American students don’t get the same opportunities and resources to excel as their peers do. And unfortunately, those shortcomings contribute to their low readiness for college and the workplace and exacerbate gaps that develop before children even enter school.

Consider that:

  • Only 35 percent of African American fifth-graders with high math performance are enrolled in algebra 1 by eighth grade, compared with more than 60 percent of their high-performing white peers.
  • Just 3 in 10 African American students with high potential for success in Advanced Placement math or science courses took such a course.
  • About 1 in 7 African American students begin college at a public or private four-year, nonprofit  research institution, where they have the highest chance of success, compared with about 1 in 4 white students.

To support communities and policymakers in raising awareness and taking action to improve in-school opportunities and outcomes for African American students, we’ve compiled a brief with this and other information on the experiences of these students in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education (just like the briefs on Latino and Native students that I told you about last week). The State of Education for African American Students also highlights systems and schools that are getting African American students to high levels of achievement.

Read it. Share it. Use it to spark conversations — and action — within your community.