Ringing in at No. 10 on the list, East Baton Rouge Parish public schools has one of the widest race gaps in the nation, Governing reports.
In a parish where 32% of the child population is white, only 22% of those children are enrolled in public schools, matching a national trend where white enrollment in private schools is creating stark disparities in many districts. In comparison, the 56% black share of the child population makes up nearly 70% of EBR’s public school enrollment.
Of the 30 areas where the school race gap is the widest, Louisiana parishes make the list five times—more than any other state. Jefferson Parish ranked the highest at No. 4. Lafayette, Caddo and Orleans parishes also appear on the list.
Nationally, public schools are less white than their communities, with blacks and Hispanics generally over-represented in those schools. The discrepancy isn’t very large in most places at the county or parish level, typically a few percentage points.
But the gap is far larger in some jurisdictions, like here, and that matters because that’s when there can be a serious disconnect between taxpayers and support for public schools. Under- or over-representation is often much more apparent in smaller areas within counties, such as individual towns and districts.
One major factor is the size of private school enrollment, which strongly correlates with demographic discrepancies. White students are vastly overrepresented in private schools because their families can afford them. Even with financial assistance, less affluent families often can’t provide transportation or pay fees for afterschool programs. Read the full story.