Exploring Educational Challenges in Black and Brown

Two recent reports are shedding light on the educational needs of black girls and Hispanic children and youth.

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Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity was published by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the National Women’s Law Center. During this milestone anniversary year for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the authors vividly depict an underappreciated legacy of black girls and women significantly shaping the 1950s/1960s civil rights movement through advocacy for such issues as improved educational opportunities and freedom from sexual violence. Fifty years later, there continue to be challenges for black girls in the classroom—the continued fight for quality basic educational opportunities, access to athletics and other extra-curricular activities, an end to the school-to-prison pipeline, and meaningful ways of addressing poverty, trauma, and sexual harassment. They make a clear case that black girls need and deserve a new policy agenda plus dedicated foundation funding.

And in America’s Hispanic Children: Gaining Ground, Looking Forward, Child Trends paints a hopeful picture of Hispanic children while pointing to continued challenges. With a 60 percent increase in high school graduation rates since 1980 and notable test score improvements, Latino children are gaining ground. But there is still more work to do–Child Trends’ Hispanic Institute recommends such policy changes as increasing access to early education and finding avenues for addressing lingering disparities.

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