Supply-side of the Theories About the Origin of the Racial Achievement Gap

Geographic and neighborhood factors
The quality of school that a student attends and the socioeconomic status of the student's residential neighborhood are two factors that can affect a student's academic performance.

In the United States, the financing of most public schools is based on local property taxes. This system means that schools located in areas with lower real estate values have proportionately less money to spend per pupil than schools located in areas with higher real estate values. This system has also maintained a "funding segregation:" because minority students are much more likely to live in a neighborhood with lower property values, they are much more likely to attend a school that receives significantly lower funding.

Using property taxes to fund public schools contributes to school inequality. Lower-funded schools are more likely to have (1) lower-paid teachers; (2) higher student-teacher ratios, meaning less individual attention for each student; (3) older books; (4) fewer extracurricular activities, which have been shown to increase academic achievement; (5) poorly maintained school buildings and grounds; and (6) less access to services like school nursing and social workers. All of these factors can affect student performance and perpetuate inequalities between students of different races.

Living in a high-poverty or disadvantaged neighborhood have been shown to negatively influence educational aspirations and consequently attainment. The Moving to Opportunity experiment showed that moving to a low-poverty neighborhood had a positive effect on the educational attainment of minority adolescents. The school characteristics associated with the low-poverty neighborhoods proved to be effective mediators, since low-poverty neighborhoods tended to have more favorable school composition, safety, and quality. Additionally, living in a neighborhood with economic and social inequalities leads to negative attitudes and more problematic behavior due to and social tensions. Greater college aspirations have been correlated with more social cohesiveness among neighborhood youth, since community support from both youth and adults in the neighborhood tends to have a positive influence on educational aspirations.

Racial and ethnic residential segregation in the United States still persists, with African Americans experiencing the highest degree of residential segregation, followed by Latino Americans and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. This isolation from White American communities is highly correlated with low property values and high-poverty neighborhoods. This issue is propagated by issues of home ownership facing minorities, especially African Americans and Latino Americans, since residential areas predominantly populated by these minority groups are perceived as less attractive in the housing market. Home ownership by minority groups is further undermined by institutionalized discriminatory practices, such as differential treatment of African Americans and Latino Americans in the housing market compared with White Americans. Higher mortgages charged to African American or Latino American buyers make it more difficult for members of these minority groups to attain full home ownership and accumulate wealth. As a result, African American and Latino American groups continue to live in racially segregated neighborhoods and face the socioeconomic consequences of residential segregation.

Differences in the academic performance of African-American and White students exist even in schools that are desegregated and diverse, and studies have shown that a school's racial mix does not seem to have much effect on changes in reading scores after sixth grade, or on math scores at any age. In fact, minority students in segregated-minority schools have more optimism and greater educational aspirations as well as achievements than minority students in segregated-white schools. This can be attributed to various factors, including the attitudes of faculty and staff at segregated-white schools and the effect of stereotype threat.

The minority status of a student plays a major role in the minority experience of schooling. Non-White minority groups are classified into voluntary and involuntary minority groups, which are differentiated by the reasons that brought the groups to the United States. Voluntary minorities are immigrants who came to the United States for better social, economic, and political opportunities, such as the Chinese and Punjabi Indians. Optimism regarding educational and occupational prospects are reflected in parents' expectations of their children. It should be noted, however, that earlier generations of students from voluntary minority groups tend to perform better and place a higher value on education than native-born and later-generation students of the same group. Involuntary minorities are those from groups who came to the United States or integrated into the United States against their will, such as Native Americans or African Americans. Involuntary minority groups face both external and internal tensions; institutionalized socioeconomic factors prevent social mobility for these groups, in addition to the identity-related conflicts within a minority culture. These ethnic histories thus define the social status of minority groups and thereby influence the schooling experience of minority students.

Legacy of discrimination argument
An argument has been put that the disparity in income that exists between African Americans and Whites directly contributes to the racial achievement gap. This school of thought argues that the origin of this "wealth gap" is the slavery and racism that made it extremely difficult for African-Americans to accumulate wealth for almost 100 years. A comparable history of discrimination created a similar gap between Hispanics and whites. This results in many minority children being born into low socioeconomic backgrounds, which in turn affects educational opportunities.

Research has shown time and again that that the wealth and income of parents is a primary factor influencing student achievement. A low socioeconomic background can have negative effects on a child's educational achievement before even starting school; indeed, research has shown that the achievement gap is present between races before starting formal education. On average, when entering kindergarten, African-American students are one year behind White students in terms of vocabulary and basic math skills, and this gap continues to grow as a child's education continues.

Part of the racial achievement gap can be attributed to the experience of the refugee population in the United States. Refugee groups in particular face obstacles such as cultural and language barriers and discrimination, in addition to premigration stresses. These factors affect how successfully refugee children can assimilate to and succeed in the United States. Furthermore, it has been shown that immigrant children from politically unstable countries do not perform as well as immigrant children from politically stable countries.

Genetic differences
J. Philippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen suggested that the results of intelligence testing demonstrate that genetic differences can explain some or all of the racial achievement gap in American education.

Robert Sternberg later published a reply to Rushton and Jensen in which he wrote critically of their approach to the subject and of some of their specific claims and rhetoric. Sternberg states his belief that science should be conducted with values in mind. He then argues that Rushton and Jensen were wrong to suggest any policy implications of their research because international variation in social norms and definitions of success may affect the influence IQ has on the attainment of success. While Sternberg acknowledges that there is a genetic factor affecting individual intelligence, he asserts that intelligence is changeable, and at the group level, subjective.