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By second grade African American students demonstrate significant learning gaps


LOS ANGELES, Calif.–By the second grade, African American students in Los Angeles County demonstrate significant learning gaps that only widen with age and lead to the highest school dropout rate among all races, according to a new report released today.

Black students are far less likely to take college preparatory classes required for admission to California universities, and they miss more school days because of suspensions than their white counterparts, according to the study by the Education Trust-West, an Oakland-based nonprofit advocacy group, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Only one of every 20 African American kindergartners will graduate from a four-year California university if current trends continue, according to the report, which compiled data on academic achievement, suspensions and the emotional conditions of African Americans in 82 school districts in Los Angeles County, The Times reported.

But the report found that African American students are doing well in districts with higher concentrations of other races, according to The Times.

In the Culver City Unified School District, more than two-thirds of African Americans are at grade level in reading and math, and 88 percent graduate, The Times quoted the report as saying. Officials there credited more counseling support, a culture of high expectations, and targeted action to support African American students.

The best performance is in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District, where African Americans make up 3 percent of the 11,840 students, according to the Education Trust-West report. There, 100 per cent graduate, 60 percent complete the college-prep coursework, and three-fourths are proficient in reading and math.

But those bright spots are exceptions. The problems begin at home, where black toddlers are less likely to have books, be read to every day or attend preschool, the report said, according to The Times.