Guilford County Looks at Ethnic Disparities

Aug 3, 2012

Guilford county schools held a two-part symposium this week examining disparities for African-American students.

Jeff Tiberii: The event focused on disproportionate levels of discipline and below average literacy rates. Students who are black were more than three times more likely to be suspended than white students. Beth Folger is Chief academic officer for Guilford County Schools. She says several key factors led to the discrepancies.

Beth Folger: A lack of cultural relevancy in our reading materials, a lack of relationships between the adults in our schools and our African-American males, and also some implicit bias, some biases that we all bring to the table; some of them conscious, some of them unconscious.

In an effort to improve disproportionate measures of discipline, Folger says three schools will enter into a pilot program this academic year. Punishments will be reviewed constantly throughout the year in an effort to see that white and black students breaking the same rules are treated equally. As far as literacy rates, the school system is making a push for a more culturally relevant curriculum.