The achievement gap – the difference in performance between low-income students and their wealthier peers – is larger in Connecticut than any other state, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Low-income children are often two or more grade levels behind in core subjects.

  • African-American and Hispanic students scored significantly lower than white students in every content area of the Connecticut Mastery Tests.
  • The performance of low-income students is poor even when compared with low- income students from other states.
  • Low-income students in grades 4 and 8 scored in the bottom third nationally on standardized tests. So it’s not a case of Connecticut having a large gap because our highest achievers are doing so well. (Connecticut Council for Education Reform)

Schools are a major feeder to the juvenile justice system —  and they are sending children of color to the system at a high rate.

  • In Connecticut schools, black children are nearly four times more likely to be arrested than white children. 
  • Black students are suspended or expelled more frequently than white students. And while black children made up 16% of all enrolled children in 2011-12, according to federal data, they accounted for 31% of all in-school arrests.
  • Nationally Black students are nearly two and 1/2 times more likely to be hit in schools than White children, and nearly eight times more likely to be ‘corporally punished’ than Latin@ kids

The disparity begins in preschool: 48% of preschool children suspended more than once are black. And students with disabilities are also suspended more frequently than students without disabilities.

Several studies have looked at the relationship between race, behavior, and suspension, and none have them have proven that black students misbehave at higher rates. A study in 2002 found that white students were more likely to be disciplineSpring Valley Assaultd for provable, documentable offenses — smoking, vandalism, and obscene language — while black students were more likely to be disciplined for more subjective reasons, such as disrespect.