By Black Parents of Arlington
Local community advocacy group, Black Parents of Arlington (BPA) has compiled data from public sources showing sobering disparities in black versus white student opportunities and outcomes in Arlington Public Schools. BPA’s newly released pamphlet entitled APS in Black, illustrates a great divide between black and white students in Arlington Public Schools, and highlights disparities in the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) Math and Reading pass rates, gifted and talented identification, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) class enrollment and pass rates, advanced diploma graduation rates, and disciplinary suspensions.
The compiled data is sourced from Arlington Public Schools’ Dashboard, Arlington Public Schools’ Suspension Data and the Virginia Department of Education’s published SOL test results. The data presented in APS in Black covers the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years.
Overall, the data showed substantial and persistent disparities between white and black students. An approximate 20-point gap between black and white students on math and reading SOLs pass rates persists. Gifted identification for black students lags behind white students, some of that resulting from over-identification of white students. A majority of black students enroll in at least one AP/IB class, however, the vast majority do not pass at least one AP/IB exam. Like their white counterparts, the vast majority of black students graduate on-time. However, unlike their white counterparts, most will not graduate with an advanced diploma.
APS in Black reports disparities in SOL pass rates between black and white students for most APS elementary, middle and high schools. Results varied. Depending on the school, black students fared far worst or, on occasion, slightly better than their white counterparts in pass rates. Through color-coded designations, BPA shows substantive differences among schools, some with greater than a 30-point difference in pass rates between black and white students and others with less than a five-percentage point difference.
APS in Black’s short two-page pamphlet, is meant to make data easily accessible for black parents and for families of black students while providing a clear basis upon which to have meaningful discussions among community members, policy makers, school district administrators and staff.
BPA seeks to organize, galvanize and empower black parents and families of black children for the purpose of improving the lives and education of black children in Arlington, VA.