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Online forum discusses Black student disparities in CCSD education

Posted at 4:48 PM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 00:17:11-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — “Access to a good education.” Some have it. Others do not. The Clark County Black Caucus says for Black students in the Clark County School District there’s a lack of opportunity with a not level playing field.

Education is an all-important step to ensure kids develop into successful adults. That’s the main objective for CCSD, but the caucus says that’s not happening for every student.

“We have a system in place where some people have access to quality education and others do not. How are we going to make this different?” said Yvette Williams, chair of the caucus.

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Williams hosted an online forum Thursday discussing ways to close the opportunity gap for Black students. She believes more equitable educational opportunities are key.

“You can’t continue to make things better for those who have, while you don’t address those that have not,” Williams said.

Numbers from CCSD show a disparity in higher-level diplomas for Black students.

Last year, only 224 black students obtained college and career readiness diplomas. Compare that to 1,467 white students and 1,499 Hispanic students getting the same diplomas.

Williams believes one reason for this is that certain classes are not being offered at school with more Black students.

She also says lower enrollment of Black students at specialized or magnet high schools is leaving many behind.

“They’re not prepared to take an AP course because maybe they didn’t take algebra in 7th grade,” she said.

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State superintendent Jhone Ebert says the state is working on addressing these issues and says there is more to be done.

“We need to pivot from a system that reinforces the advantage of some students over others to a system that maximizes the talent of all students,” she said.

CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara has taken steps like adjusting admission criteria at magnet schools. He says the pandemic has created challenges that could hinder progress.

“We still need to address the disproportionality and so as I’m pushing on the team, how do we continue to not let this crisis be an excuse,” he said.

Williams says she appreciates the efforts of Dr. Jara and Ebert. She says it will take major action from all stakeholders to help close achievement gaps for black students.

“That’s what we have to do if we’re truly going to have equity and education justice in Nevada so that all kids have the opportunity to achieve,” she said.