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Black students in Los Angeles County continue to face a multitude of barriers to an equitable education, including concentrated poverty, high suspension rates and housing insecurity, a UCLA report released Wednesday found.

Researchers focused on 14 school districts in the county that serve at least 800 Black students to understand how various factors are leaving behind Black children, particularly those considered vulnerable. The report by the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools builds on a previous study that found schools serving Black students lacked critical resources — counselors, nurses, social workers, highly qualified teachers — and students’ home and community environment played a role in their academic success.

Analyzing data collected before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, researchers found that two underlying factors — the concentration of economic inequality for many Black families and fluctuating Black student enrollment in districts that have not historically served them — shaped student experiences. In order to understand the academic hardships Black students face, the report says, educators need also to consider health and environmental factors.

In eight of the 14 school districts examined, Black students were twice as likely to experience homelessness than other racial groups; and in 10 of the 14 school districts, researchers found that 40% of Black students and their families live two times below the federal poverty line.

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