Looking Deeper: Trends in risk factors and school outcomes over the past decade by economic
status and race/ethnicity

Although the substantial improvements in eight of the nine indicators are laudable, a deeper look at the data reveals disparities by economic status and race/ethnicity that persist even in the face of large statewide improvements overall. In Figure 1, the most recently available data for selected risk indicators and school outcomes are shown by economic status. Economically disadvantaged families had higher rates of all risk indicators at birth and higher rates of all the six poor school outcomes in this report. There was nearly a ten-fold difference in low maternal education at birth among low income mothers (19.1%) compared to those with higher income (2.0%). Failure rates among students from economically disadvantaged families for the Fall PALS-K, and 3rd grade reading and math SOL assessments were more than double that of students from families that were not economically disadvantaged.

Figure 1. Selected Indicators of Risk and Poor School Outcomes by Economic Status, Virginia.

The most recent data on selected risk indicators and school outcomes by race/ethnicity is shown in Figure 2. The early childhood poverty rate for black and Hispanic families was significantly higher than the state average. As a group, black and Hispanic students are at higher risk for poor school outcomes. These students are more likely to be born to a teenage mother, born to a mother who did not complete high school, and grow up in poverty than their classmates. Black infants are also more likely to be born low birthweight. Given these elevated risks and the strong relationship between economic disadvantage and poor school outcomes shown in Figure 1, the increased risk for poor school outcomes is not unexpected.

 

Figure 2. Selected Indicators of Risk and Poor School Outcomes by Race/Ethnicity, Virginia





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