CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies released report on inequality in Tennessee public schools.
The report, Still Separate and Unequal: Demographics and School Finance in Tennessee a Half-Century after Brown, finds that Tennessee's public schools remain largely segregated and that state spending per pupil is lower for African Americans and Latino than for White students. However, the report also finds that disparities in state funding per pupil appear to be closing.
- Out of the 285,955 African American and Latino public school students in Tennessee in 2006-2007, 64.8 percent attended schools where a majority of students were African American or Latino. Overall, 29.2 percent of public school students in Tennessee were African American or Latino.
- More than one third of African American and Latino students (35.9 percent) attended schools where 90 percent or more of all students were African American or Latino. In 2006-2007, 22,786 African American and Latino students were in schools where 100 percent of all students were African American or Latino.
- In the 2007-2008 school year, State aid for African American students was $148.84 less per student than for white students. State aid for Latino students was $299.78 less than for white students.
- The disparity in funding is largely the result of the concentration of African American and Latino students in metropolitan or urban school districts that receive disproportionately less in State funding on a per pupil basis. In 2007-2008, five metro and urban school districts accounted for 68.2 percent of all Latino and African American students in the State. On average, these districts receive $3,332.15 per student in State aid. By comparison, the five districts with the fewest minority students receive $5,777.72 per student in State aid.
- Under BEP 2.0, the gap between per student State aid for African American and Latino students and white students has narrowed. As recently as 2006, the State was providing more than $300 more per white student than for African American students: that gap has been cut in half. While the gap has narrowed for Latino students as well, it is nearly double the gap between white students and African American students.
The report used data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Tennessee Department of Education. The Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies conducts independent data analysis and policy research to improve the quality of life in the Chattanooga region. The full brief is available here.