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The Color of Inadequate School Resources

Challenging Racial Inequities that Contribute to Low Graduation Rates and High Risk for Incarceration

By Daniel J. Losen

Students of color, particularly males, graduate from high school at substantially lower rates than white students. Segregation, poverty, and inadequate school resources contribute to this inequity, which is also linked to test-driven accountability of the No Child Left Behind Act and schools' increasing use of overly harsh discipline policies. The U.S. Department of Education has failed to enforce the Act's graduation rate accountability, which might have mitigated the problem of test-score goals giving schools the incentive to push out low achievers. Still, school finance and adequacy litigation and the Act's graduation rate accountability measures are sources of remedies for advocates seeking to stem the flow of students from school to prisons and to increase graduation rates of students of color.

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