Fifty years after desegregation, wide racial and ethnic achievement gaps persist in Berkeley

July 05, 2019

By Louis Freedberg


Stanford’s Reardon points out that one reason that the racial and ethnic gaps in Berkeley are so high is that white students on average are doing exceptionally well, not that black and Latino students are doing exceptionally poorly, at least compared to their peers in other school districts.

In that sense, Berkeley is not that dissimilar to other communities which are also home to world-class universities, like Palo Alto, Chapel Hill and Evanston, IL, where achievement gaps are also very large.

“Some of it is that white families in those places tend to have higher incomes and education levels than black and Hispanic families, who have fewer socioeconomic resources to use to provide educational opportunities for their children such as high-quality preschool,” Reardon said.

But this is not sufficient to explain all of the gap, he said. “Clearly other educational opportunities are not equally distributed within those communities.”


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