This report seeks to expand conversations around educational opportunity by taking a comprehensive look at the barriers African American girls face and the educational and economic outcomes that result. One important barrier is the prevalence of stereotypes that adversely impact the educational experiences of African American girls. Structural and institutional barriers examined in this report -- such as under-resourced schools, disparate discipline practices, gender-based violence and harassment, and lack of support for pregnant and parenting students -- further compromise educational outcomes for African American girls.
This report fills an important gap in existing data on educational achievement and its attendant economic consequences. Although there is plentiful data on American children and education, the lack of data broken down by race and gender together has fueled the assumption that all girls are doing fine in school. But in fact, although girls overall graduate from high school at higher rates than boys, girls of color are graduating at far lower rates than white girls and boys. In almost all states with available data, the high school graduation rate for African American girls is below the national average for girls overall, resulting in severe economic consequences for African American women and their families.