In Cranston, for example, school officials are much more likely to expel African-American students than white or Hispanic students. African-Americans accounted for half of all expulsions in Cranston in 2009, a year when they represented just 4 percent of students enrolled in the district’s public schools.
Pawtucket school officials appear to slap a disproportionate number of Hispanic students with in-school suspensions. Hispanic students made up 2/3 of all in-school suspensions in Pawtucket, but they represented only ¼ of the district’s student population. African-Americans accounted for 33% of in-school suspensions and 29% of the student body. White students, the single largest group in Pawtucket Public Schools, had no in-school suspensions at all.
In Woonsocket, African-American and Hispanic students were both slightly over-represented in the in-school suspension category. However, the more glaring problem echoes a trend seen in many parts of the state. Namely, that black and Hispanic students are severely underrepresented in gifted programs. According to the federal data, there were no non-white students in Woonsocket’s gifted programs in 2009. There were also no Hispanic students taking calculus even though Hispanics represent roughly ¼ of Woonsocket’s enrolled school population.
If we weren't focusing all our energy on test scores, firing teachers and closing schools.