High-poverty schools, small schools offer fewer advanced courses

An October 2018 report from the Government Accountability Office finds that schools with large populations of students in poverty offer fewer advanced science and math courses that help students prepare for college. Although offerings for Algebra I, Geometry and Biology were only slightly lower for high-poverty schools, as poverty levels go up, the likelihood that schools will offer Advanced Math, Calculus, and Physics the disparity widened. The same applies to Advanced Placement courses, with the number of course offerings generally going down as poverty goes up. However, students in large schools, across all poverty levels, tended to have access to more advanced courses than students in small schools. And fewer charter schools offered these courses than magnet and traditional public schools, with magnet schools tending to offer the most advanced courses.

Because high-poverty schools educate larger percentages of Black and Latinx students, these findings have implications for efforts to increase racial equity. The report details how some high-poverty schools are seeking to create a college-going culture and help students surmount some of the obstacles they face as they pursue their college dreams.

Source: United States Government Accountability Office. (2018, October). Public high schools with more students in poverty and smaller schools provide fewer academic offerings to prepare for college. Washington, DC: Author

 

TERESA PRESTON (tpreston@pdkintl.org) is managing editor, content, of Phi Delta Kappan.

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