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IBO report: Advanced course offerings are distributed unevenly

Poor students and students of color in New York City are able to take fewer advanced courses on average, according to a new report out of the Independent Budget Office.

The report was commissioned by the advocacy group Alliance for Quality Education and confirms the group’s longstanding argument that city schools shortchange high-need students in some ways. The IBO found that black and Hispanic students on average attend schools that offer 5.4 Advanced Placement courses, while white and Asian students on average attend schools that offer more than twice as many of the college-prep classes.

“AQE requested this report from the IBO to offer proof to the inequities we’ve known to be true for years and the Dept. of Education’s own data shows that we’re right,” said Zakiyah Ansari, an AQE spokeswoman.

City Department of Education officials have acknowledged that many students of color do not have access to robust college-prep course offerings. Last month, the city announced a plan to spend $7 million to bring 120 AP courses, particularly in math and science, to 55 high schools that serve many students of color and historically have not offered many advanced courses. A recent report by the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School found that taking even a single advanced course increased students’ likelihood of graduating from high school and succeeding in college.

The IBO also found that poor students and students of color tend to have access to fewer art classes and that the city spends far more per student on arts teachers, who are required, than on librarians, who are not. The full report is here.

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