Black students are more likely than white students to not test at a grade proficient level at CRCSD

Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 7:27 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Black students are achieving lower test scores in reading and math compared to white students in the Cedar Rapids Community School District.

Data shows only 4% of black students in the district’s middle schools tested at a grade proficient level in Math during the fall. A larger percentage, 24%, of the districts’ white students reached the same benchmark. The 20% achievement gap was the smallest gap seen in the data, which our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Team requested.

Our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Team requested the data
Our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Team requested the data(None)

According to the data, more white students are testing at a grade proficient level than black students in every age group in both reading and math tests.

Dr. Ruth White, who is the founder and executive director of the Academy for Scholastic and Personal Success, said the data is clear evidence the school district needs to do more for students who aren’t white. She said the district has to investigate why black students are not reaching the benchmarks for grade-level proficiency.

“You need to go to McKinley Middle School and pick out Johnny, Jill, and Jackie and say ‘okay Johnny, Jill, and Jackie you had this test. What happened?’” White said.

White, who is also a former teacher at the Cedar Rapids Community School District, said she knows black families have already left the district because their students are struggling.

“There is some discomfort,” she said. “And there is some sense their kids aren’t getting the level of education that Cedar Rapids has been known, which I may add is excellent.”

David Tominksy, who is the Cedar Rapids Community School District School Board President, said he believes this data is worth celebrating because more students are testing at a proficient level overall after the pandemic and derecho. He also said there is room for the district to improve with minority students.

“That data shows you that parts of that curriculum probably aren’t working,” Tominsky said. “But there are also other things too beyond just the curriculum.”

He said those other factors include student attendance, parental involvement, and student behavior. Tominksy said the school board plans to dig deeper into the achievement gap over the Summer to see if changes are necessary.

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