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Racial inequities in NC schools, by the numbers

Racial inequities are no secret in North Carolina, especially in the public school system. But just how significant are they?

That’s the question “E(race)ing Inequities: The State of Racial Equity in North Carolina Public Schools,” a new report from CREED (The Center for Racial Equity in Education) attempts to answer. (Go here to see all content related to this report and to download the full PDF.)

In a study of more than 1.5 million North Carolina students, the report found significant gaps in both educational access and outcomes between racial groups, particularly between white students and non-Asian students of color.

The report is unique in its deliberate attempt to quantify both access and outcome indicators. Access indicators include things like having the option to take honors courses and having high-quality teachers. Outcome indicators include metrics like test scores, graduation rates, and grade point averages.

An analysis of those indicators alongside race finds that non-Asian students of color in North Carolina experience diminished access and outcomes compared to white students.

On average, students of color have less experienced teachers, fewer opportunities to take honors classes, lower proportional enrollment in advanced classes, increased out-of-school suspensions, and more. These findings hold true even when controlling for other factors that may correlate with race, such as socioeconomic status.

E(race)ing Inequities was co-authored by Nicholas P. Triplett and James E. Ford. You can read the full report here for a more in-depth look at racial inequity in North Carolina, and check out the companion report, “Deep Rooted: A Brief History of Race and Education in North Carolina.”

Editor’s note: James Ford is on contract with the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research from 2017-2020 while he leads this statewide study of equity in our schools. Center staff is supporting Ford’s leadership of the study, has conducted an independent verification of the data, and has edited the reports.

Robert Kinlaw

Robert was director of multimedia for EducationNC. He is a journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker in the Triangle. Robert attended both public and private grade schools in North Carolina and graduated from the Media and Journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has produced video content for The News & Observer, ABC11-WTVD, UNC-Chapel Hill, The News Reporter and more. His short documentary Princess Warrior received an Excellence in Filmmaking award at the 2017 Carrboro Film Festival. Visit his website at