The Geography of Black White Educational Inequality: Linking Disproportionality across Multiple Educational Domains
Using district level data that cover 75 percent of the black public school population, we characterize the extent to which black white gaps in achievement, rates of school disciplinary policy, Advanced Placement (AP) course taking and classification into special education and Gifted and Talented courses are linked across school districts in the United States. We show that gaps in each of these domains are large in magnitude and correlated; districts with large gaps in one area are likely to have large gaps in other areas. Socioeconomic inequality and segregation are strikingly consistent predictors of achievement, discipline, AP course taking and classification gaps. While socioeconomic and segregation variables consistently predict achievement and non-achievement gaps, there is much more unexplained variance for non-achievement outcomes; depending on the outcome, socioeconomic and segregation variables explain between 1.5 to 3 times as much of the variation in achievement gaps as they do for the other educational outcomes. These findings reveal that underlying and systemic patterns of inequality drive inequalities across multiple educational outcomes; however, unobserved discretionary policies at the district and school levels are more influential for gaps in non-achievement outcomes.