How Whites and Blacks Perform In Jefferson County Public Schools
State of the School District: How Whites and Blacks Perform In Jefferson County Public Schools is a report by education analyst Richard Innes of the Bluegrass Institute released October 20, 2008. The report identifies new statistics about the racial achievement gaps in Jefferson County Public Schools. The following is the executive summary...
One of the most important tenets of the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 is that all children can learn, regardless of race or economic status. However, during the 18 years since KERA’s enactment, serious questions have arisen regarding the performance of Kentucky’s public schools in meeting that goal for all children, especially black students.
This analysis examines two sets of data that compare white-student performance with that of black students in Kentucky’s largest school system, the Jefferson County Public Schools. This district encompasses the city of Louisville and a considerable area surrounding it. The district holds the state’s largest number of black students; 48.5 percent of all black students in Kentucky attended Jefferson County Public Schools during the 2006-07 school year.
The analysis shows:
- Blacks remain well behind academically in the key subjects of reading and mathematics.
- In a significant number of Jefferson County schools – 47 out of the 120 schools with usable data on reading and 44 out of 120 for math – the gap between white and black students is widening.
- Graduation rates remain extremely low for significant numbers of blacks – especially black males – in the majority of Louisville’s public high schools. Using a graduation-rate estimation formula created by Johns Hopkins University, black males in only three of the 19 high schools in the study had graduation rates equal to or greater than the district-wide graduation rate for all students. The graduation rate also is generally low for black females and even for white students in these 19 schools. Two of these schools reported abysmal graduation rates of less than 60 percent, qualifying them as “dropout factories” using a definition developed by Johns Hopkins. In both of these Jefferson County schools, the graduation-rate estimates using the Johns Hopkins formula fell well below 50 percent for whites and blacks of both sexes.