Study Looks at Racial Disparities in Mississippi Schools

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Jackson, Miss. Black students in Mississippi are much more likely to be taught by rookie teachers, and black males are suspended at among the highest rates in the country.

Those are among the findings of a U.S. Department of Education report on racial disparities in education released Friday.

Neither finding is much of a surprise in Mississippi, where many districts with largely black student bodies scramble for teachers each year and where litigation has focused on harsh disciplinary practices in Jackson and Meridian.

Research nationwide has shown that while some first-year teachers are effective, almost all teachers become more effective after their first year. Meanwhile, civil rights activists say that despite legal actions, they fear suspensions are still harming the academic careers of African-American boys.