TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - It's being called a national crisis. Minority students are falling behind their white peers when it comes to education.
The numbers show it's a problem across the country and right here in the Hoosier state.
Indiana usually scores higher than the national average in education but according to the Indiana Youth Institute new data shows significant gaps, especially among minority and immigrant children.
The 2017 Race for Results Report shows three quarters of African-American fourth graders are not proficient in reading. The numbers for Hispanic and Latino fourth graders was only slightly better at seventy-one percent. That's compared to fifty-sixe percent of white fourth graders not proficient in reading.
There is also a large gap between white students and English language learners. Eighty-five percent of Indiana's E-L-L students eighth graders are not proficient in math. Ninety percent of African-American eighth graders are not proficient in math. That's drastically higher than the fifty-five percent of white students.
The report scores states on a scale of one to 1,000 on how different racial/ethnic groups of children are progressing on key education, health and economic milestones.
When compared to Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio, Indiana’s overall scores for each racial or ethnic group of youth — African-American (318), Asian (780), Hispanic/Latino (424) and white (664) — places the Hoosier state in the middle of the pack for all racial/ethnic groups. Asian, Hispanic/Latino and white children fared the best in Illinois, while Kentucky had the highest overall score for African-American children among the five states.
Tami Silverman is the CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute. She says the numbers are bad across the board but the difference between white and minority students shows students do not have the same access to a quality education.
“To set all our students up for success, we must focus on increasing access to high-quality, affordable early child care and education, as well as ensuring students are ready to continue their learning after high school, either through college or career training.”
Silverman says there is no "quick fix" and it takes lawmakers and communities working together to ensure children are reaching their full potential.