Minority U.S. schools have inexperienced teachers: report

Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:29pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters Life!) - U.S. schools with African-American students are twice as likely to have teachers with little experience as majority white schools in the same district, according to new data released on Thursday.

The recently expanded Civil Rights Data Collection is a biennial survey of differences in educational opportunities and resources.

"For the first time we have an incredible new source of data that tells us where opportunity gaps are in ways we have never seen before as a country," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali on a conference call.

The first part of the data released by the Department of Education contains demographic enrollment data from about 7,000 school districts, or every district that serves more than 3,000 students, answering questions such as who has access to kindergarten, advanced math and science courses, and guidance counselors.

Part two of the data, to come in the autumn, is expected to feature a more robust tool to search multiple queries simultaneously and analyze results. This will include information such as numbers of students passing algebra, taking Advanced Placement tests, and discipline data.

The expanded survey included 1,000 more school districts than in the past and includes new indicators and improved methodologies, according to Ali.

The group has been approved to collect data on every school district in America in the next study, Ali said.

(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Greg McCune)