Race, Class, and Test Scores: A Definitive Explanation

The data visualization and digital storytelling team over at the NY Times took the phenomenal work of Professor Sean Reardon at Stanford University and put together an excellent interactive graph.  No, really. Here’s how it starts:

We’ve long known of the persistent and troublesome academic gap between white students and their black and Hispanic peers in public schools.

We’ve long understood the primary reason, too: A higher proportion of black and Hispanic children come from poor families. A new analysis of reading and math test score data from across the country confirms just how much socioeconomic conditions matter.

Children in the school districts with the highest concentrations of poverty score an average of more than four grade levels below children in the richest districts. (Reliable estimates were not available for Asian-Americans.)

Even more sobering, the analysis shows that the largest gaps between white children and their minority classmates emerge in some of the wealthiest communities, such as Berkeley, Calif.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; and Evanston, Ill.

The study, by Sean F. ReardonDemetra Kalogrides and Kenneth Shores of Stanford, also reveals large academic gaps in places like Atlanta, which has a high level of segregation in the public schools.

Read the rest over at the Upshot.