Black and Latino students across the United States are far more likely to be suspended than white students - and far less likely to have access to rigorous college-prep courses, according to a sweeping study released on Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.
The trove of data, collected from 72,000 schools serving 85 percent of the nation's students, revealed tremendous disparities in the public school experiences of minority and white students.
Some of the most striking findings involved discipline: one in five African-American boys - and one in 10 African-American girls - was suspended from school during the study period, the 2009-10 school year.
Overall, African-American students are 3-1/2 times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers. And 70 percent of students arrested or referred to law enforcement for disciplinary infractions are black or Latino, the study found. Other researchers have found that students who are repeatedly punished by being barred from campus are far more likely to drop out.
Academic opportunities also vary widely by race. Among high schools that serve predominately Latino and African-American students, just 29 percent offer a calculus class and only 40 percent offer physics. In some school districts, those numbers are even more glaring. In New York City, for instance, just 10 percent of the high schools with the highest black and Latino enrollment offer Algebra II.
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