The U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights has released staggering statistics about suspensions in public schools and school districts. In 2013-14, black students were nearly four times as likely to be suspended from school. On the other end of the spectrum, the report showed Black students are 1.9 times as likely to be expelled from school lacking educational services than those of their white peers.

Photo: @AfAmEducation / Twitter
Photo: @AfAmEducation / Twitter

The disparities start earlier than you think.

The report found significant suspension rates for preschoolers:

Black preschool children are 3.6 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as white preschool children.

Black children represent 19% of preschool enrollment, but 47% of preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions; in comparison, white children represent 41% of preschool enrollment, but 28% of preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions.

Black boys represent 19% of male preschool enrollment, but 45% of male preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school suspensions.

Black girls represent 20% of female preschool enrollment, but 54% of female preschool children receiving one or more out-of-school

Coincidentally, the school enforcement population has significantly increased.

According to the DOE’s study, black children are shortchanged across the board. They receive more disciplinary action, but less learning opportunities. Students of color — specifically black and Latino — aren’t given the same access to qualified and experienced teachers.

Photo: @AfAmEducation  / Twitter
Photo: @AfAmEducation / Twitter

Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation claims, “Inequalities of opportunity, moreover, are deeply connected to a system of public education that is increasingly segregated by race and economic status. When we educate black and white — and poor and rich — students in separate schools and separate classrooms, low-income and minority students are often cut off from good teachers and a challenging curriculum.”

Risk factors for disabled African-American public school students are even more alarming, with discipline for them described as “harsher” than their white classmates. Back in March the Department of Education proposed new regulations to ensure equity in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The DOE’s assistant secretary for civil rights, Catherine E. Lhamon is urging educators and researchers to use this “data to its full potential to support students in realizing theirs.”

The racial achievement gap is real.

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