Monday, April 11, 2016

Making School Work for African-American Girls: National Women's Law Center at NSBA Conference

National Women's Law Center presenting today
a lot of work on implementing Title IX, women and economic issues, health, equity
reporting out on report from last year: Unlocking Opportunity
girls of color faring worse than national average girls on almost every measure of academic achievement

some of this is access: "it's a race issue as much as a gender issue"

strong self-esteemed linked to positive academic outcomes
negative racial stereotypes begin affecting African-American children at a young age
"this feeling of low self-esteem starts at a very young age"
positive affirmation from adults really can change that
negative perceptions of African American girls can lead to assumptions of need of greater social correction or discipline
runs against vision of women as quiet and modest
out of proportion discipline for dress codes
hair style codes
African-American girls who are assertive are at greatest risk of (out of line) discipline
mentoring, field trips, speakers
training in problem solving, conflict resolution
giving chance for leadership

larger perception of sexual harrassment and violence
large number experience dating violence, threatened with a weapon on school grounds
most likely group to be victims of sex trafficking
seeing that often that girls who are seeing help for being harassed are not always receiving the proper responses
schools failing to see how schools are contributing to harassment
may even be punished for fighting back
African-American women already access counseling at lower rates

important to maintain a safe and respectful enviroment
Title IX says a lot about what schools have to do
"Schools have to take action promptly and fairly to investigate
schools should be having training regularly for all students and staff
supports needed: "there's a lot of trauma going on with kids these days"
counseling available to kids and staff

Sex trafficking prevention program

unfair and excessive discipline: African American girls are suspended at a rate six times those of white girls
(third after African American boys and Native boys)
19% of Af-Amer girls with disabilities received out of school suspensions, compared to 9% of white girls
"why is this happening, what can we do to fix it" being asked by U.S. Ed
suspended more often for minor behaviors
disproportionate part of those referred to law enforcement: "HUGE disparities"
"girls are the fastest growing segment of those referred to law enforcement"
often for running away, responses to trauma

implicit bias within stereotypes of African-American girls can lead to disciplinary disparities
implicit racial and gender bias training
training on children's response to trauma
access to data broken down by race, gender, etc: can see what the problems are

Q: any data on who disciplines?
not at this point, but needed

Title IX speaks to pregnant and parenting students
still hearing of girls not getting time off and time to make up work that they're entitled to
4 in 10 Afr-Amer girls
1 in 3 Latina
1 in 6 white non-Latina girls...will become pregnant before 20
only 51% of teen mothers get their high school diploma by age 22 (thus leading cycle of poverty continuing)
still have policies in place in some places that are unlawful around excluding girls who are pregnant or mothers
pregnant students must be given access to same programs as all students; can have alternative programs, but must be voluntary and equal in all ways
track data: if dropping out and not coming back, need to find them and follow up
some facing harassment; need support
need individualized plan to complete education

Q: strong patriarchal immigrant systems: early marriage the norm: is anyone looking at that dynamic?
don't know of any studies
supporting boys who are fathers; support them to remain involved

Q: runs up against three absences and you're out
have to treat pregnant or parenting students as you would anyone else with a temporary disability
schools are sometimes just saying things
"and that's not okay under the law"
"it can be hard and we understand that, but there are ways to make it work"

back and forth here about separate programs..."proceed with caution and check with your attorney"
schools cannot require a doctor's note for a pregnant girl to stay in school unless it's required for all students with any temporary disability to have a note
Q: so safety issue is less important than the legal issue?
response: according to the law, it's up to the young woman and her family to make that decision
Q: what if child care falls through and parent has to bring baby to school?
no federal law on that; can be state laws
schools may be providing child care or connections to child care
also connects to breastfeeding: under working conditions law, women need a place to pump; could read Title IX the same way
"lactating is a medical condition connecting with giving birth"

access to STEM classes
"part of this is that we still have very racially isolated schools in this country"
only 57% of black high school students have access to full range of math and science courses
high-CofC, high poverty schools are less likely to have resources for instruction
Afr-Am girls particularly steered towards courses less rigorous lab courses
"training everyone what implictly bias is
Q on implicit bias: instructors steering towards skilled factory skills, not the engineers and experimental scientists
"they want workers"
"mindset is going to have to change" from teachers and from business
suggestion of magnet programs to draw those in
some of it is seeing people doing it, too
also making sure that there we're getting rid of steering and bias even at earliest ages

athletics: girls of color finishing last
42% of high schools are 90% or more white or 90% or more children of color
40% of heavily children of color schools have huge female opportunity gaps in athletics
outreach and recruitment to encourage participation in sports where they have been underrepresented
(photo of Mo'ne Davis!)
awareness and work around what prevents it: transportation, finances
example cited from Lawrence MA on getting kids to be able to come to track practice
"a lot of time solutions are not that hard; they just need to be thought of"
who is Title IX coordinator for schools? Everyone needs one

definite need to increase resources
issues of equity and access to quality education

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