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Burlington School District releases equity, inclusion report

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The Burlington School District released its annual report that measures equitable outcomes for students.

The Equity and Inclusion Data Report looks at whether there are disparities between student academic achievement and participation based on race, gender and socio-economic issues. The data shows that African American students, which make up 15% of the student population, are suspended at a higher rate, reported.

“Even though we have published this report for eight consecutive years and are making progress in some areas, we’re seeing that a lot of the same historical inequities persist,” said Henri Sparks, the district’s director of equity, in a written statement.

“I think it has a lot to do with bias, unconscious bias,” Sparks told the news station. “I think it has a lot to do with white supremacy culture, racism, and a lot of other contributing factors.”

Superintendent Tom Flanagan said students of color do better when they have teachers of color in their school experience.

“We also know that all students do better when they have teachers of color, so it’s really important for us to focus our efforts on recruitment,” he said.

Students with individualized educational plans also are suspended at a higher rate, the report found.

“So we need to really drill down why we are suspending students with disabilities at such a high number,” Sparks said.

The report shows that the district is meeting two of the district's six goals. Those are expanding the use of restorative practices in schools and increasing the percentage of students who have completed Algebra II by the time they graduate.

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