A new study uncovered a significant funding disparity between predominantly white school districts and school districts attended primarily by students of color.
White school districts receive $23 billion more annually compared to predominantly non-white districts. Lower funding for school districts can often lead to lower quality education, which can affect not only a person’s income trajectory but also their career trajectory for the rest of their life.
In response, WalletHub released a report on the Best States for Racial Equality in Education. The report showcases this significant funding disparity. WalletHub evaluated the 50 states based on six key metrics to determine the level of racial equality in education. The data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, National Center for Education Statistics, ACT and College Board compares the difference between white and black Americans in areas such as high school and college degrees, test scores and graduation rates.
"Recent years have brought increases in racial isolation within schools and an increase in the number of racially identifiable schools," said Crystal Renee Chambers, Professor of Educational Leadership at East Carolina University. "Given correlations between race and wealth with attendant reliance on local property taxes to fund education, there is a racially identifiable impact on school funding."
Texas ranked 8th overall for the level of racial equality in education. The top 10 states are as follows: New Mexico at number 1, followed by Wyoming, West Virginia, Oregon, Vermont, Hawaii, Kentucky, Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma.
On the other hand, the five states with the lowest scores in terms of racial equality in education were Nebraska, New York, Connecticut, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The gap in public high school graduation rates between the highest-ranking state, Hawaii, and the lowest-ranking state, Wisconsin, was a staggering 12 times.
For ranking racial equality in education in Texas, there are varying degrees of achievement. While Texas ranks first for the share of adults with at least a high school degree, when moving to higher education, the state ranks eighth in the share of adults with at least a bachelor's degree.
Texas falls behind when it comes to standardized test scores, ranking eleventh. The state's mean SAT score places it at twenty-fifth, while its average ACT score ranks lower, at forty-sixth. Texas performs relatively well in terms of public high school graduation rates, ranking thirteenth.
"Racial wealth gaps not only impact the ability of localities to fund K-12 education but the ability of students and their families to finance higher education," said Chambers. "These gaps are temporarily bridged by student loans, but long term can inhibit an individual’s career and earnings opportunities. Moreover, students in higher education are more likely to stop out or drop out because of financial troubles than any other reason."