Journal Article: Racial Disparities and Discrimination in Education: What Do We know, How Do We Know It, and What Do We Need to Know?


Education, Minority Groups, Race and Ethnic Discrimination


Farkas, George


2003, Aug


This paper reviews what we have learned about racial discrepancies in education, with particular attention to those that might be attributable to discrimination. Empirical studies have found that, on average, African American, Latino, and American Indian children arrive at kindergarten or first grade with lower levels of oral language, prereading, and premathematics skills, as well as lesser general knowledge, than that possessed by White and Asian American children. African American, Latino, and American Indian children are also reported to display behaviors less well suited to the school's learning environment. It is here that researchers have looked for discrimination by teachers and school administrators. In particular, they have looked for curricular track placements that, adjusting for prior performance, are disadvantageous for ethnic minority students. They have also looked for the possibility that teachers hold lower expectations for, and are less encouraging to, minority students. It is suggested that, with the cooperation of school administrators and teachers, district-specific studies of these issues might be undertaken, using both local administrative data and participant-observational methods. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA )


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