Closing the Racial Gap

A national study shows Texas is doing better than most other states in closing achievement gaps between white and African-American students. But, as Bill Zeeble reports from Dallas, there's still room for improvement.
The Department of Education's research arm, the National Center for Education Statistics, reports Texas ranks 4th in narrowing math achievement gaps between Black and White 8th graders. And it's 15th in closing math achievement gaps between Black and White 4th graders.

The Texas Education Agency's Debbie Ratcliffe says those are the 2 grades tested every other year by the Department of Education. She says this particular test — from 2007 — is very good news for Texas.

"This is the closest thing we have to a national test.  It confirms what other tests have been telling us. Not only is our performance getting stronger, but we're closing the achievement gap between African American and white students."

While achievement gaps between Black and White students are closing in statistically meaningful ways, Ratcliffe says those gaps remain. Whites do better than African Americans. Ratcliffe suggests a higher number of low income Blacks than Whites is the most likely reason. The math success was not duplicated in Reading. Ratcliffe says that's discouraging, but Texas African Americans read at a higher level than Blacks in most states. She says Hispanics were not measured in the study.

I'm Bill Zeeble. KUHF-Houston Public Radio.