1 in 3 U.S. students attended a racially segregated public school in 2020-21, watchdog says


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By Zachary Schermele, NBC News

Percent of Schools That Are Predominantly (75% or more) Same-Race/Ethnicity, by Region, in School Year 2020-21

Nearly 19 million students in the U.S., or more than a third, attended a public school in the 2020-21 school year where at least 75% of students were of the same race or ethnicity, according to a report released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office.

The 45-page analysis looked at years’ worth of data from the Department of Education. It provides a stark assessment of the state of racial and socioeconomic equity for K-12 students. 

Although the diversity of the total student population has increased in recent years, inequity persists, the report says. 

“Ensuring equal access to educational opportunity — a key component of the Department of Education’s mission — remains a persistent challenge,” Jackie Nowicki, lead author and the director of K-12 education at the GAO, said in the report. 

The new data also shows that 14% of students — about 7 million — attended schools where at least 90% of their peers were all of one race or ethnicity. Of the students attending schools where at least three-fourths of their peers were of their own racial or ethnic background, nearly half were white — compared to 31% Hispanic, 23% Black, 19% American Indian/Alaska Native, and 4% Asian students. 

Find out more about this report.

Racial segregation in education has recently been the subject of federal investigations in Alabama.

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