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Document Type

Special Section 2

Theme

FROM THEORY TO ACTIVISM: PERSPECTIVES FROM YOUTH ADVOCACY GROUPS IN WASHINGTON STATE

Abstract

Washington State is one of a handful of states in the nation with a growing achievement gap between students of color and White students. These gaps are apparent when measured by differences in graduation rates and assessment proficiency rates. In 2011, White students in Washington graduated from high school at a rate of roughly 15 percentage points higher than that of African-American, Latino, and Pacific Islander students, and nearly 25 percentage points higher than that of Native American students (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction [OSPI], 2012). That same year, low-income third graders in Washington passed the state reading assessment at a rate of 20 percentage points lower than their more affluent peers (OSPI, 2011c). On the seventh grade math assessment, White students in Washington passed the exam at a rate of 25 to 30 percentage points higher than that of their African-American, Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islander peers (OSPI, 2011c). As unacceptable as these statistics are, they are but a few examples. Washington has no shortage of challenges to address in the next several years if we are to make headway and alter the reality for students in our public school system.

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