African-Americans at competitive disadvantage

According to the Annual Equity Update by The School District of Escambia County, our African-American students will be at a competitive disadvantage when competing for college scholarships and local jobs once they graduate from high school. The percentage of white students taking Honor and Advanced Placement courses is more twice the percentage of African-American students. Of course, the district fails to teach them to read, write or do math in elementary and middle then the black students can’t qualify for those courses.

In 2011-12 school year, there were 3,856 black students enrolled in grades 9-12. Only 169 of them were enrolled in AP courses (4 percent) and 707 in Honors courses (18 percent). For white students, AP 17 percent, Honors 39 percent. For Hispanic students, AP 16 percent, Honors 37 percent.

These percentages aren’t much better than four years ago:

Whites-AP 11% Honors 41%
Black- AP 2% Honors 4%
Hispanic- AP 8% Honors 33%

State Sen. Don Gaetz has talked many times about how he turned around the Okaloosa County School District when he was superintendent by focusing on AP and Honor courses. Our School District needs to ask him how he did it.