The Wake County school system didn't come out looking too well in new data released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
The data from the 2009-10 school year indicated that Wake's white students accounted for 57 percent of the population and received 25 percent of suspensions, while blacks make up 24 percent of the student body and received 57 percent of suspensions. It's been noted in several media reports, including this article in The Christian Science Monitor.
It was one example of how the feds say that minority students across America face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curricula and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers.
"The power of the data is not only in the numbers themselves, but in the impact it can have when married with the courage and the will to change," said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a press release. "The undeniable truth is that the everyday educational experience for many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise. It is our collective duty to change that."
OCR is looking at Wake's discipline data as part of its ongoing Title VI probe of the district's elimination of the diversity policy. Critics of the probe have pointed to how in the past few years steps have been taken to end zero tolerance and reduce suspensions in Wake.