Students like Demitrius Kigeya thrive in Wisconsin despite the worst black-white achievement gap in the nation. The state ranks the worst in the nation for the difference between how well black and white students perform, the likelihood that black students will be suspended from school and the difference between black and white student graduation rates.
In the past year, the Republican-run state Legislature, with the blessing of Gov. Scott Walker, eliminated the state’s race-based integration program and made changes to a class-size reduction program in moves that critics charge will harm the state’s ability to close the achievement gap.
Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reporter Abigail Becker sat down in October with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, Department of Public Instruction spokesman Tom McCarthy and the agency’s Director of Education Information Services John Johnson.
According to a recent study by Washington University in St. Louis, 90 percent of heroin users are white, and most are young and live in the suburbs. By contrast, hospital studies show that African-Americans are much more likely than whites to abuse cocaine. And one University of Wisconsin-Madison expert said heroin addicts tend to commit less violent crimes than those on cocaine; many drug courts exclude violent offenders from participating. The result: Some drug courts, such as the one in Dane County, are now full of white heroin users.
In 2012, about one-third of those arrested for drug crimes in Dane County were black, according to the state Office of Justice Assistance. But African-Americans made up just 10 percent of those participating in the county’s drug court that year, according to Journey Mental Health, a Madison nonprofit that provides treatment and case management for the program.
More than 65 percent of depressed mothers don’t get adequate treatment for depression, according to a nationwide study released this fall by the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. The study of 2,130 women found that black, Hispanic and other minority mothers, as well as uninsured mothers, were among the least likely to be helped.