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Report: Minority Student Achievement Gap Grows Slightly

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Although significant progress has been made, North Carolina still has a long way to go to close the academic achievement gap between minority students and their white peers, according to a new report released Wednesday by the North Carolina Justice Center's Education & Law Project.

Every year since the N.C. Justice Center released its first report in 2000, there has been progress in narrowing the minority achievement gap until the 2004-2005 school year when it grew slightly from 21.6 percent to 22 percent.

The report also finds that 34 percent of black students did not pass their end-of-grade tests, compared to 12 percent of white students.

"The harsh reality is that one in three black students did not receive a sound basic education during last school year," said Sheria Reid, director of the Justice Center's Education & Law Project. "That's 70,000 children who are being deprived of their future."

The report also showed a drop in all test scores for eighth-grade students, of all races, who were tested again in 10th grade. The scores dropped as much as 18 percent in two years.

Another statistic highlights the gap in enrollment for honors classes, where 31 percent more white students took advanced classes. The report also says an alarming number of black students are enrolled in special-needs classes.

North Carolina's constitution requires equal education for all children and is the basis for the 1996 Leandro lawsuit, which claims the state is not providing proper funding to all students, regardless of race and class.

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