School Segregation in the US

  • On the anniversary of Brown v. Board, new evidence that U.S. schools are resegregating, By Emma Brown, May 17, 2016, Washington Post: “Poor, black and Hispanic children are becoming increasingly isolated from their white, affluent peers in the nation’s public schools, according to new federal data showing that the number of high-poverty schools serving primarily black and brown students more than doubled between 2001 and 2014. The data was released by the Government Accountability Office on Tuesday, 62 years to the day after the Supreme Court decided that segregated schools are ‘inherently unequal’ and therefore unconstitutional…”
  • GAO study: Segregation worsening in U.S. schools, By Greg Toppo, May 17, 2016, USA Today: “America’s public schools – 62 years after the Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education decision – are increasingly segregated by race and class, according to new findings by Congress’ watchdog agency that echo what advocates for low-income and minority students have said for years.  U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigators found that from the 2000-2001 to the 2013-2014 school year, both the percentage of K-12 public schools in high-poverty and the percentage comprised of mostly African-American or Hispanic students grew significantly, more than doubling, from 7,009 schools to 15,089 schools. The percentage of all schools with so-called racial or socio-economic isolation grew from 9% to 16%…”

Racial Achievement Gap

  • New research uncovers little improvement in achievement gap, By Sarah Sparks, May 9, 2016, PBS NewsHour: “Fifteen years of new programs, testing, standards, and accountability have not ended racial achievement gaps in the United States. The Stanford Education Data Archive, a massive new database that allows researchers to compare school districts across state lines has led to the unwelcome finding that racial achievement gaps yawn in nearly every district in the country— and the districts with the most resources in place to serve all students frequently have the worst inequities…”
  • Seattle schools have biggest white-black achievement gap in state, By Gene Balk, May 9, 2016, Seattle Times: “White kids in Seattle’s public schools are doing great. They’re performing about two grade levels above the national average on standardized exams. That finding comes from a sweeping new Stanford studyof 2009-2012 test scores from third- through eighth-grade students around the country. But for black kids in Seattle, the data from that study paint a very different picture. They test one and a half grade levels below the U.S. average. Compared with their white peers in the city, black students lag by three and a half grade levels. That ranks Seattle, among the 200 biggest school districts in the U.S., as having the fifth-biggest gap in achievement between black and white students…”

Insurance Coverage under the ACA

  • Immigrants, the poor and minorities gain sharply under Affordable Care Act, By Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff, April 17, 2016, New York Times: “The first full year of the Affordable Care Act brought historic increases in coverage for low-wage workers and others who have long been left out of the health care system, a New York Times analysis has found. Immigrants of all backgrounds — including more than a million legal residents who are not citizens — had the sharpest rise in coverage rates.  Hispanics, a coveted group of voters this election year, accounted for nearly a third of the increase in adults with insurance. That was the single largest share of any racial or ethnic group, far greater than their 17 percent share of the population. Low-wage workers, who did not have enough clout in the labor market to demand insurance, saw sharp increases. Coverage rates jumped for cooks, dishwashers, waiters, as well as for hairdressers and cashiers. Minorities, who disproportionately worked in low-wage jobs, had large gains…”
  • Obamacare seems to be reducing people’s medical debt, By Margot Sanger-Katz, April 20, 2016, New York Times: “Even if you lack health insurance, you’ll probably be able to get treatment at a hospital in the event of a catastrophe — if you’re struck by a car, say. But having insurance can mean the difference between financial security and financial ruin. A new study is showing that, by giving health insurance to low-income people, Obamacare seems to have cut down on their debt substantially. It estimates that medical debt held by people newly covered by Medicaid since 2014 has been reduced by about $600 to $1,000 each year…”
  • Obamacare expanding coverage for the poor, study finds, By Karen Pallarito, April 20, 2016, Philadelphia Inquirer: “State Medicaid expansions under Obamacare have improved low-income Americans’ insurance coverage, increased their doctor visits and enhanced detection of chronic health conditions, which could lead to improvements in health, a new study suggests. The findings are important as policymakers continue to debate the value of expanding Medicaid, the publicly funded health insurance program for the poor, researchers said…”

Environmental Hazards and Poor Minority Communities

  • Low-income, minority areas seen as lead poisoning hot spots, By Matt Rocheleau, April 11, 2016, Boston Globe: “Thousands of Massachusetts children are found to have potentially harmful levels of lead in their blood each year, with cases tending to be concentrated in communities with more low-income and minority residents, state officials say.  The Central Massachusetts town of Warren had the highest rate of lead poisoning, with excessive levels found in 7.1 percent of children tested. The next highest rate was 6.7 percent in the neighboring town of Ware…”
  • Threat of environmental injustice extends beyond Flint water crisis, By Ted Roelofs, April 15, 2016, MLive.com: “About a year ago Grand Rapids resident Myichelle Mays, 25, picked up her young son, De’Mari, now 4, from a sitter, and immediately knew something was wrong. De’Mari, who had been diagnosed with asthma just before his first birthday, ‘was gasping for air,’ she recalled. ‘He couldn’t breathe. You could hold him and hear the wheezing. I freaked out.’ Mays rushed the boy to the hospital, the latest of five or six trips to the emergency room since he was infant. Now it is a fear she lives with each day. ‘It’s stressful, not knowing what is going to happen.’  It was a frightening episode, but one familiar to thousands of low-income minority families in Michigan. And it might be one more reason to view Flint’s water crisis as merely the latest chapter in a long narrative in which impoverished residents of color are more likely to bear the brunt of environmental hazards…”

American Indian Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

American Indian girls often fall through the cracks, By Teresa Wiltz, March 4, 2016, Stateline: “They’re poor, more likely to be sexually abused, end up in foster care, drop out of school, become homeless. They’re often the prey of traffickers.  American Indian and Native Alaskan girls are a small fraction of the population, but they are over-represented in the juvenile justice system, whether they are living on or off the reservation. Native American girls have the highest rates of incarceration of any ethnic group. They are nearly five times more likely than white girls to be confined to a juvenile detention facility, according to the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention…”

Racial Achievement Gap and High-Poverty Schools

The concentration of poverty in American schools, By Janie Boschman and Ronald Brownstein, February 29, 2016, The Atlantic: “In almost all major American cities, most African American and Hispanic students attend public schools where a majority of their classmates qualify as poor or low-income, a new analysis of federal data shows. This systemic economic and racial isolation looms as a huge obstacle for efforts to make a quality education available to all American students. Researchers have found that the single-most powerful predictor of racial gaps in educational achievement is the extent to which students attend schools surrounded by other low-income students…”

Black Unemployment

Unemployment may be dropping, but it’s still twice as high for blacks, By Sonari Glinton, February 5, 2016, National Public Radio: “The jobs numbers are in: 150,000 jobs were added to the economy in January. That’s fewer than expected, though the unemployment rate fell to an eight-year low.  President Obama took the opportunity this morning to take a shot at some of his more vocal opponents…”

Environmental Hazards and Poor Minority Communities

Beyond Flint: Poor blacks, Latinos endure oversized burden of America’s industrial waste and hazards, By Aaron Morrison, January 25, 2016, International Business Times: “Elizer Lee Cruz will occasionally look out at English Station — the shuttered and corroding coal power plant sitting on an eight-acre island in the middle of Mill River — and marvel at its architecture. From Fair Haven, a neighborhood just east of the river comprising largely minority and working-poor people, Cruz and his neighbors can see the tops of four of the facility’s smokestacks that stopped billowing in 1992. ‘The way the bricks are laid — little blocks of cement with a circle and a lightning bolt — it was a power plant that was built to the glory of God,’ he says, describing what he can see from the riverbanks. But that awe is fleeting for Cruz, an environmental activist who last year fought a plan that would have reopened the plant…”

Young Black Men and Unemployment – Chicago, IL

Nearly half of young black men in Chicago out of work, out of school: report, By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, January 25, 2016, Chicago Tribune: “Nearly half of young black men in Chicago are neither in school nor working, a staggering statistic in a bleak new youth unemployment report that shows Chicago to be far worse off than its big-city peers. To 24-year-old Johnathan Allen, that’s no surprise. ‘It’s right there in your face, you don’t need statistics,’ Allen said as he testified before a room full of lawmakers and public officials Monday at an annual hearing about youth unemployment, where the report was presented. He encouraged everyone to walk down the street and witness how joblessness devastates communities…”

Racial Achievement Gap – Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s racial achievement gap widens, By Abigail Becker, December 16, 2015, Appleton Post-Crescent: “When Madison Memorial High School sophomore Demitrius Kigeya solves math problems in his head, other students give him surprised looks. He believes it is because he is black.  ‘I just pay attention in class and do my homework,’ said Kigeya, 15.  Odoi Lassey, 16, a junior, echoed Kigeya’s feelings. ‘People don’t expect you to know anything,’ explained Lassey, who, like Kigeya, is a high academic performer, plays on the high school soccer team and is active in Memorial’s Black Student Union. ‘It’s almost as if you know something, they think you’re weird or you’re acting white … some people think you’re not black just because you try to help yourself out and do well in school.’  The negative stereotype that follows students such as Kigeya and Lassey is rooted in Wisconsin’s dismal racial academic achievement record…”

Achievement Gap

  • Achievement gap in D.C. starts in infancy, report shows, By Michael Alison Chandler, December 10, 2015, Washington Post: “The District is a national leader in providing universal access to preschool for 4- and 5-year olds, an investment designed to improve school readiness and narrow a a rich-poor achievement gap that is apparent by kindergarten.  But, according to a new report produced by Child Trends and commissioned by the Bainum Family Foundation, the achievement gap starts much earlier — in infancy — and the city isn’t prepared to deal with it…”
  • Black students struggling more in Michigan than other states, according to report, By Jonathan Oosting, December 10, 2015, MLive.com: “African-American students are further behind their peers in Michigan than in most other states, according to a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.  African American students are disproportionally impacted by shortcomings in the national education system, according to the report, which points to ongoing struggles to improve outcomes for minority students and close achievement gaps…”
  • Minority students make gains, but achievement gap remains, By Mary Niederberger, December 10, 2015, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “While there has been some improvement in academic achievement among African-American students since the early 1990s, overall performance levels remain critically low nationally, and Pennsylvania’s results fall below national averages. That information was contained in the report ‘The Path Forward: Improving Opportunities For African-American Students,’ released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the NAACP…”

Income of Hispanic Families

More Latino kids In low-income but more financially stable households, By Suzanne Gamboa, December 8, 2015, NBC News: “Although they are more likely to be poor than other children, Hispanic children in low-income households have had more economically stable homes.  But the Great Recession took some toll on the earnings in these low-income families, as well as children in higher-income earning households, according to ‘Child Trends’ reports from the National Research Center for Hispanic Children and Families…”

Home Loan Discrimination

‘Redlining’ home loan discrimination re-emerges as a concern for regulators, By Rachel L. Swarns, October 30, 2015, New York Times: “The green welcome sign hangs in the front door of the downtown branch ofHudson City Savings Bank, New Jersey’s largest savings bank. But for years, federal regulators said, its executives did what they could to keep certain customers out.  They steered clear of black and Hispanic neighborhoods as they opened branches across New York and Connecticut, federal officials said. They focused on marketing mortgages in predominantly white sections of suburban New Jersey and Long Island, not here or in Bridgeport, Conn.  The results were stark. In 2014, Hudson approved 1,886 mortgages in the market that includes New Jersey and sections of New York and Connecticut, federal mortgage data show. Only 25 of those loans went to black borrowers…”

Racial Disparity in Debt Collection

The color of debt: How collection suits squeeze black neighborhoods, By Paul Kiel and Annie Waldman, October 8, 2015, ProPublica: “On a recent Saturday afternoon, the mayor of Jennings, a St. Louis suburb of about 15,000, settled in before a computer in the empty city council chambers. Yolonda Fountain Henderson, 50, was elected last spring as the city’s first black mayor. On the screen was a list of every debt collection lawsuit against a resident of her city, at least 4,500 in just five years. Henderson asked to see her own street. On her block of 16 modest ranch-style homes, lawsuits had been filed against the occupants of eight. ‘That’s my neighbor across the street,’ she said, pointing to one line on the screen…”

Hispanic Rural Poverty

Hispanic poverty in rural areas challenges states, By Teresa Wiltz, August 14, 2015, Stateline: “Today, one in four babies born in the U.S. is Hispanic. Increasingly they are being born into immigrant families who’ve bypassed the cities—the traditional pathway for immigrants—for rural America. Hispanic babies born in rural enclaves are more likely to be impoverished than those in the city. And it’s harder for them to receive help from federal and state programs, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Consistent health care also is hard to come by, particularly if their parents are undocumented and are fearful of being discovered and deported—even though the children are U.S. citizens. As a result, many researchers say, many of these children may never realize their full potential and escape poverty…”

Race and Concentrated Poverty

  • Black poverty differs from white poverty, By Emily Badger, August 12, 2015, Washington Post: “The poverty that poor African Americans experience is often different from the poverty of poor whites. It’s more isolating and concentrated. It extends out the door of a family’s home and occupies the entire neighborhood around it, touching the streets, the schools, the grocery stores. A poor black family, in short, is much more likely than a poor white one to live in a neighborhood where many other families are poor, too, creating what sociologists call the ‘double burden’ of poverty. The difference is stark in most major metropolitan areas, according to recent data analyzed by Rutgers University’s Paul Jargowsky in a new report for the Century Foundation…”
  • Louisville 10th worst for high black poverty areas, By Phillip M. Bailey, August 10, 2015, Louisville Courier-Journal: “As the Metro Council debates ways to encourage affordable housing in the East End, a New York-based think tank released a report showing Louisville is the 10th worst city for concentrated black poverty in the nation. About 43 percent of the poorest black residents in the Louisville metro area are housed in neighborhoods where the federal poverty rate was 40 percent or more, according to the report by the Century Foundation…”
  • Poverty has nearly doubled since 2000 in America, By Max Willens, August 9, 2015, International Business Times: “A year after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, people are talking about a newly galvanized civil-rights movement in the U.S.  A new report, finding that the number of people living in high-poverty areas has almost doubled since 2000, suggests that its rebirth is sorely needed.  According to Century Foundation research, the number of Americans living in high-poverty areas rose to 13.8 million in 2013 from 7.2 million in 2000, with African-Americans and Latinos driving most of the gains. The report points to racially motivated policies such as exclusionary zoning and trends such as white flight as the primary culprits…”

Gender Wage Gap

Latinas’ gender wage gap is worst, study finds, By Katie Johnson, July 29, 2015, Boston Globe: “In Massachusetts, Hispanic women who clean offices and houses for a living make just 54 cents on the dollar compared with what male janitors make. Compared with their Hispanic male counterparts, Latina cleaners make just 59 percent. New research from the University of Massachusetts Boston shows that the already yawning gender wage gap becomes a chasm in lower-income jobs, particularly for Hispanic women…”

Child Poverty by Race

  • For first time, black kids in poverty outnumber white, By Lauren Pankin, July 16, 2015, Detroit Free Press: “The number of black children living in poverty in the U.S. has surpassed the number of poor white children for the first time since U.S. Census has tracked such numbers in 1974, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. Overall, 20% of children in the U.S., or 14.7 million, lived in poverty in 2013 — down from 22%. Of that, black children make up 4.2 million while white children account for 4.1 million…”
  • Black children in U.S. are much more likely to live in poverty, study finds, By Sabrina Tavernise, July 14, 2015, New York Times: “Black children were almost four times as likely as white children to be living in poverty in 2013, a new report has found, the latest evidence that the economic recovery is leaving behind some of the United States’ most vulnerable citizens. The share of American children living in poverty fell to about 20 percent in 2013 from 22 percent in 2010, according to the report by the Pew Research Center, which analyzed data from the United States Census Bureau.

Black Unemployment

Why the improvement in the black unemployment rate will be short-lived, By Chico Harlan, May 13, 2015, Washington Post: “Over the last three months, an eye-opening trend has appeared in the U.S.’s jobs data: African-Americans are making notable gains. During that span, the unemployment rate for whites has held flat at 4.7 percent. But for blacks? It’s fallen from 10.4 percent to 9.6 percent, hitting single digits for the first time in the recovery. Meantime, the gap in labor force participation between blacks and whites has grown narrower than it’s been since September 1999. Since February, the number of blacks with jobs has gone up by 407,000. The number of whites with jobs has declined by 273,000, in part, no doubt, because of a wave of Baby Boomer retirements…”

Literacy Gap

Literacy gap between Latino and white toddlers starts early, study shows, By Teresa Watanabe, April 2, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “Latino toddlers whose language comprehension is roughly similar to white peers at 9 months old fall significantly behind by the time they are 2, according to a study released Thursday.  The UC Berkeley study found that four-fifths of the nation’s Mexican American toddlers lagged three to five months behind whites in preliteracy skills, oral language and familiarity with print materials. Although earlier studies have shown that Latino children are raised with emotional warmth and develop social skills on par with others when they enter kindergarten, the new research found they are not receiving sufficient language and literacy skills at home, said Bruce Fuller, a UC Berkeley professor of education and public policy and co-author of the study…”