Minority students in Illinois are falling through the cracks because they are more likely to be enrolled in the worst-performing schools, according to a new national study that reinforces what education activists have been saying for years about the state’s inequitable school funding system.
The study by the Schott Foundation for Public Education placed Illinois 45th among the 50 states in providing high-quality schooling to low-income and minority students. That finding is no surprise, since Illinois ranks near rock-bottom in state funding for education and black and Latino youngsters are far more likely to live in poorly-funded, low-performing school districts.
The report also quantified the long-term economic impact of the disparities, estimating that lost tax revenue, increased crime and imprisonment, and other consequences of unequal education cost Illinois $3.7 billion a year.
Researchers ranked states according to an “opportunity to learn” score that is based on two variables: how easily disadvantaged students can access the best schools, and how well disadvantaged students meet proficiency standards on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.