Report shows racial disparity in Oklahoma's largest school districts

The U.S. Education Department released data Tuesday about civil rights and schools. Black students in Oklahoma's largest school districts are less likely to be enrolled in gifted and talented programs and more likely to be suspended, according to the report released Tuesday.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: March 7, 2012
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Black students in Oklahoma's largest school districts are less likely to be enrolled in gifted and talented programs and more likely to be suspended, according to a report released Tuesday by federal officials.

The Civil Rights Data Collection is an extensive report that includes data about a variety of issues — early childhood education, suspensions, coursework — and compares it to race. The survey of 2009 data was released by the U.S. Education Department Office for Civil Rights.

In Oklahoma City Public Schools, the state's largest district, white and Asian students are more likely to be enrolled in gifted and talented programs than blacks, Hispanics and Indians. They also were less likely to be suspended or expelled.

Though blacks are less likely to enroll in calculus, they are more likely than their peers to take physics and chemistry in Oklahoma City.

Black students represent 30 percent of the city district's student population. But blacks represent 43 percent of in-school suspensions, 50 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 33 percent of expulsions.

District officials plan to evaluate the report and respond to questions and concerns from the community in the future, district spokeswoman Tierney Tinnin.

Other notable statistics for the state's 10 largest districts:

Three of the largest districts reported no blacks enrolled in calculus: Moore (8 percent black student body), Norman (7 percent) and Tulsa Union (15 percent). Hispanics make up 17 percent of Putnam City Schools, but the district reported no Hispanics enrolled in calculus. About 12 percent of the Midwest City-Del City district is American Indian, but no Indians were reported to be in calculus.