::Educational Researcher still in room::
I can’t go with Collounsbury here. The OP is asking a question about education and gap measurement. Therefore, all discussion must pertain to educational definitions of race, not scientific definitions or social ones.
However one feels about categorizing individuals into races, it’s done. Why? Because it’s always been done that way and will be done that way for a long time to come – “correct” or not. Get over it. Gobs of federal money is given to Local Education Authorities (LEAs) every year. The feds want to see that the money is used wisely so they require reports. They require disaggregations by race and sex.
The National Center for Educational Statistics, a branch of the United States Department of Education has produced its Standards for Education Data Collection And Reporting (SEDCAR) to define all data elements. Because LEAs use SEDCAR the standards, I will reproduce them here for race. Sure I just posted the categories above, but it is important that everyone involved in this discussion is aware of the requirements in reporting and the constraints of data in education reporting.
American Indian or Alaskan Native – A person having origins in any of the peoples of North America, and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.
Asian or Pacific Islander – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. This area includes, for example, China, India, Japan, Korea, the Phillippine Islands, and Samoa.
*Black (not Hispanic) * – A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
*White (not Hispanic) * – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa or the Middle East.
Hispanic – A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.
The point here? Education research and reporting (as well as most reporting) does make specific distinctions between racial categories. Education research uses the definitions above.
I apologize for not addressing the OP in this post, but I feel that earlier “clarification” detracted from the intent of the OP and had the potential of confusing him/her and future posters. This could eventually lead to misinformation posted, which would not help the OP to “fight ignorance”.