Group Spotlights Black-White Disparities in Arlington Schools

Group Spotlights Black-White Disparities in Arlington Schools

Local community advocacy group, Black Parents of Arlington (BPA) has compiled data from public sources showing disparities in black versus white student opportunities and outcomes in Arlington Public Schools.

BPA’s newly released pamphlet entitled “APS in Black,” illustrates the divide between black and white students in Arlington Public Schools, and highlights disparities in the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) Math and Reading pass rates, gifted and talented identification, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) class enrollment and pass rates, advanced diploma graduation rates, and disciplinary suspensions.

The compiled data is sourced from Arlington Public Schools’ Dashboard (, Arlington Public Schools’ Suspension Data ( and the Virginia Department of Education’s published SOL test results ( The data presented in APS in Black covers the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years.

According to BPA, the data overall showed substantial and persistent disparities between white and black students. An approximate 20-point gap between black and white students on math and reading SOLs pass rates persists. Gifted identification for black students lags behind white students, some of that resulting from over-identification of white students, according to BPA. A majority of black students enroll in at least one AP/IB class, however, the vast majority do not pass at least one AP/IB exam. Like their white counterparts, the vast majority of black students graduate on-time. However, unlike their white counterparts, most will not graduate with an advanced diploma.

“APS in Black” reports disparities in SOL pass rates between black and white students for most APS elementary, middle and high schools. Results varied. Depending on the school, black students fared far worse or, on occasion, slightly better than their white counterparts in pass rates.

BPA shows differences among schools, some with greater than a 30-point difference in pass rates between black and white students and others with less than a five-percentage point difference.

BPA seeks to organize, galvanize and empower black parents and families of black children for the purpose of improving the lives and education of black children in Arlington.