Black students in Broward’s public schools — particularly black male students — continue to struggle when compared to their peers, according to a report released Tuesday by Broward school district leaders.
The “Diversity, Inclusion & Educational Equity” report, discussed during a School Board workshop, is part of the district’s push to diversify its workforce and address persistent achievement gaps affecting some students.
Among school district employees, the most underrepresented minority group is Hispanics, who account for about a quarter of the county’s overall population but make up only 16 percent of Broward district employees. Black employees in the district actually make up a larger percentage of employees than their share of the overall county population, as about one-third of school district employees are black, while only one-quarter of county residents are black.
When it comes to academic performance indicators such as graduation rates, Hispanic students trail their white classmates, and black students are even further behind. During the 2010-11 academic year, the graduation rate among white, non-Hispanic male students was nearly 85 percent; for Hispanic male students it was roughly 76 percent; and for male black students it was less than 60 percent.
Female students graduated at higher rates, but there were still discrepancies between races: 89 percent of white female students graduated, while more than 82 percent of Hispanic students graduated, and about 71 percent of female black students graduated.
The results are only slightly different from the previous year, but the gap between white and minority students is growing: white students’ graduation rates are inching up, while black and Hispanic students’ graduation rates are slightly down.
Broward is hardly alone in having student achievement gaps — districts around the state and the nation are struggling with similar issues. Still, Broward’s 59.6 percent graduation rate among black male students is lower than Miami-Dade’s 65.9 graduation rate, and Florida’s 64.3 percent rate.
Broward School Board member Robin Bartleman said it’s important to note that the district is actively working to close achievement gaps, using strategies such as a targeted graduation task force.
“I know we’re doing stuff about it,” Bartleman said.