(Valerie Mancia | The Poly Post)

Racial equality in schools

By Ja Dai Buie

As college students, we are only a couple of years removed from our days in primary and secondary school.

While some of us from minority groups came from schools that adequately prepared us for collegiate success, some college hopefuls were not so lucky.

(Valerie Mancia | The Poly Post)

The issues of racial inequality and inequity are not only prevalent in our society, but deeply ingrained into our education system as well.

This problem mostly stems from the selfishness and greed of those who are privileged.

I feel that though these are both important topics to address, they aren’t really seeing the full picture.

The main reasoning for the lack of equity in the education system is due largely to racialized stereotypes attached to African Americans which causes an identity crisis in black youth and why some may choose to not do well in school.

However, It’s not the ultimate reason for these children’s lowquality education.

The erasure of African American culture and history that takes place in schools, which specifi cally affects the black teen.

Psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum, referring to a student that was interviewed for her study, “Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” – stated that a young men and women alike experience frustration over having learned little about their own cultural history in grade school.

In Tatum’s research interviews, she found that Black students lamented the absence of courses in African American history or literature at the high school level.

By minimizing the time spent on African American studies, causing a psychological separation, meaning a black teen might feel as though they don’t have an identity.

There are many school’s that attempt to disparage this inequality naming the institutions after notable African American leaders.

Naming schools after a Civil Rights leader it gives a false impression of unity, equality and even equity, clearly the school is still segregated, which goes against what Marshall fought for.

To combat inequity and inequality we need money in these urban, underfunded districts.

The main victims of said underfunding are the Hispanic and black children that live in these urban areas.

The No Child Left Behind initiative that was proposed and enacted under former president, President Bush.

The program was meant to support youth, but it cut major corners, and is the reason standardized testing gained popularity.

During this time, Bush claimed “I went to Washington to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations…It’s working. It’s making a difference”.

This was not really the case. We need to do actual work to help end educational inequity.

Similarly, these schools are giving a false sense of success by institutionalizing “test-prep regimens” to incur “testing gains”.

Instead of providing decent education that will hold water and carry over to higher education, these elementary schools give students, and subsequently parents, false pride by giving them tests that make the school look good.

If these “education gains” were legit, they would follow these children into middle and high school, and their comprehension levels would steadily increase instead of dropping off once they get to secondary school.

Funding for schools in urban areas so that kids receiving an unequal education, when compared to private schools, sounds incredible, but you have to take two things into consideration: whether citizens care enough to feel moved to help this cause and the amount of time it would take for something like this to be acted upon by legislation.

Generally, it is hard to get most individuals to care about things that don’t concern them, and even if you manage to that doesn’t mean they’ll actually donate towards the cause, we all know how people get about their taxes – stingy!

And if a bill were to be passed to get these schools proper funding, it could take years for them to draft a decent one and for it to pass.

Between these two, the social inequality creates a sense of insecurity in minority children.

Tatum mentions that academic success being characterized as something for white people leads black youth to lose interest in it, for the sake of being black.

Any black youth that excels is questioned by their black peers, which leads to a chasm in their identity.

There is a stigma attached to black youth, and has attributed it to their self-worth, thus deeming themselves worthless.

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