Excellence with Equity
Our community deeply values education and equity. We know that our schools, and the students who attend them, should reflect the rich diversity of our city. Every ACS student deserves a great education that fits their needs, but that isn’t the reality for all of our students right now.
- Families of color have unfairly limited elementary school options for their children because the district is mandated to maintain antiquated racial quotas that were put into place 30 years ago.
- Black families are leaving our district at an alarming rate—in 2004 our schools were 48% Black and today only 18% of our students are Black.
- We have the biggest gap in Black student achievement in any district in the state—81% of Black students are not proficient in math and 61% in English Language Arts/Reading. In addition:
- 52% of Hispanic students are not proficient in math and 23% not proficient in English Language Arts/Reading.
- 30% of students who identify with two or more races score as not proficient in math and 46% in English Language Arts/Reading.
- Our Black students have the highest rate of suspensions and expulsions of any group of students in the state.
- Presently, the student makeup in PreK is 64% white and 36% Black and Brown -- to increase access, those statistics need to be flipped so that our Black and Brown students are getting more of an academic foundation, improving Kindergarten readiness.
- Currently, ACS employs 373 certified staff members, 6% are Black.
With the pandemic predicted to only widen existing achievement gaps across the country, now is the time to act. ACS leadership is committed to forging stronger, better schools and community. We are building upon a foundation based on decades of work with our community and our partners to solve these big challenges.
How It Gets Done
We need input from the families and students who are most impacted by our inequities so we can address these challenges together.
ACS will launch a community engagement effort to hear from the diverse voices that make up our city so that together we can brainstorm options and pinpoint real solutions that address our very real challenges. It is especially important that we build on the strengths of our Black and Brown students and their families, who are not currently getting the education and services they deserve.
We are in the early stages of many different lines of equity-building projects, including:
- Increasing the number of teachers of color at our schools
- Reviewing our Pre-K offerings to ensure they are serving our highest needs
- Looking to ways to increase choice for families
- Reviewing and updating our disciplinary practices to be inline with today’s best practices
With the goal to be transparent as we work, we will also be reaching out with direct, grassroots community outreach in the coming weeks.