Racial Disparities in Access to Educational Opportunities To Be Rectified in One New Jersey School District

The School District of South Orange and Maplewood in New Jersey has been prompted to provide its African American students equal access to and equal opportunities to Advanced Placement (AP), Honors and other college and career preparatory courses following a review by the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights which revealed glaring disparities in the opportunities that African American and white students are exposed to. The review was done to make sure that the school district complies with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., as well as implements regulation 34 C.F.R. Part 100, which prohibit discrimination on the bases of race, color and national origin by organizations that receive funds from the Federal government. The review exposed that only 19 percent of African American students are enrolled in the district’s AP courses although they make up 38 percent of the student population. On the other hand, white students who make up 49 percent of the student population in the district hold most of the enrollment in the AP courses. The school district will take action steps to rectify the existing disparities.
The Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, stated that the US Department of Education will conduct investigations to ensure that school districts and states are providing “poor and minority students with access to strong teachers, demanding coursework and facilities that their white peers receive”.
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