Reports

Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity

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Author(s): The National Women’s Law Center and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Published: Sept. 19, 2014

Report Intro/Brief:
“… African American girls face significant barriers to educational attainment, including lack of access to quality educational opportunities; pervasive racial and gender stereotypes that affect the decisionmaking of school leaders and educators; discriminatory discipline practices that disproportionately push them out of school; high rates of exposure to sexual harassment and violence; juvenile justice system involvement; and lack of support for those who are pregnant or parenting while still in school. In almost all states, the high school graduation rate for African American girls is significantly below that of white girls and the national average for all girls, and African American girls are behind on a range of academic measures related to college readiness. These systemic educational barriers and challenges produce life-long economic obstacles, such as limited job opportunities, lower earnings, and disproportionate representation among those in poverty. As a result, African American girls are uniquely vulnerable to a “School-to-Poverty Pathway.”

With Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity, the National Women’s Law Center and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. shine a spotlight on the barriers that restrict and limit the educational opportunities of many African American girls, the impact of those barriers on the lives of African American girls and women, and the available interventions that present opportunities to fundamentally improve life outcomes for young African American women. This report — the result of a multi-year study — urges educators, school leaders, community leaders and members, advocates, policymakers, and philanthropic organizations to take action to advance the success of African American girls.”

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