UNC study finds first-grade reading suffers in segregated schools

Posted July 29, 2014

— A new study out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found that black students in segregated public schools make smaller gains in reading than their peers in more integrated settings.

UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute released its findings, which involve nearly 4,000 first-graders in public schools nationwide, Tuesday.

The study points to the schools as the problem. It cites fewer available resources, higher teacher turnover and more novice teachers as three potential reasons for the gap.

"It may be that segregated schools affect African-American students, in particular, because these schools have fewer resources to devote to high-quality instruction, experience more teacher turnover and are more likely to employ novice teachers," said Kirsten Kainz, director of statistics for the Frank Porter Graham Institute. "In addition, the communities surrounding segregated schools may not have as many supports for reading development outside of the school day and year."

Local measures, however, could help bring more integrated schools, such as care in residential planning – including the location and concentration of low-income housing – and in drawing attendance lines for schools.

“Many communities have direct local control over processes that can ensure they don’t inadvertently promote segregation," Kainz said.


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  • Terry Watts Jul 30, 2014
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    The comments make me wonder if any single one of the commentators even thought to read the actual Study...

  • Ronnie Reams Jul 29, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    If the school is segregated, did not know there were any left, there would only be one race there. Therefore no other race would suffer in that particular school.

  • beaupeep Jul 29, 2014

    The study says "black students" suffer at segregated schools. Is that to imply that the non-black students DON'T suffer? If non-black stdents don't suffer, than how can you conclude it's the fault of the school? On the other hand, if ALL students suffer at segregated schools, why are the authors being racist by calling out only the black stdents?

    Clearly, the study has a predisposed bias. To me, that negates ANY conclusion(s) they could draw.

  • beaupeep Jul 29, 2014

    Still waiting for that NAACP funded, after school, reading enrichment program. You know, to help them "advance". Part of their name, right?

  • Lucas Turner Jul 29, 2014

    The study came out of UNC. Par for the course.

  • Kyle Jones Jul 29, 2014
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    What a ridiculous study. First off, 4,000 students nationwide? That is a tiny sample size. Second, this study was designed to show the results they expected. These results have nothing to do with race and everything to do with poverty. Why did they focus on African Americans alone? The results would have been the same if you included latino and white children from the same neighborhoods. This study is the result of researchers trying to get attention with a shocking title. Why else would you use the word "Segregated."

  • Naysayer Jul 29, 2014

    What a dumb story, it is not the schools, it's the parents. Bus the students elsewhere and their true performance gets "masked" in the wonderful world of magic statics.

  • Jerry Sawyer Jul 29, 2014
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    Oh yes. Many in the black population pay to send their children to private black schools.

  • sinenomine Jul 29, 2014

    Frank Porter Graham was a great champion of civil rights.

    A story was told that while Dr. Graham was President of the UNC system a reporter got wind of a rule which would permit blacks (Negroes was then the preferred term) to sit in the balcony for an event in Memorial Hall on the Carolina campus.

    Contacted for comment the reporter asked Dr. Graham if the rumor was true. Dr. Graham responded "There is no truth whatsoever to the story that Negroes will be permitted to sit in the balcony of Memorial Hall." After a pause, and as the reporter was about to hang up the phone, Doctor Graham continued "The truth is that Negroes will be permitted to sit anywhere they d _ _ _ well please in Memorial Hall."

  • ncaginsure Jul 29, 2014

    In what State are there segregated schools. UNC must have done study in another country