Racial inequalities that began in the United States in the early 1600’s still persist and have infiltrated our school systems. Throughout this research paper, I will delve into the schematics of what is happening in our educational system in current history. Inequality is defined as the unequal distribution of resources, opportunities and rewards within society. In the United States, we have an unequal distribution of resources that has impacted racial and ethnic minorities. On a structural level, racism is the use of power to benefit one racial group at the expense of others by creating, not removing, policies or laws that maintain racial/ethnic inequalities. Our education system replicates the racism found in society. From my peer reviewed sources, I have found they concur with the fact that minorities are at a deficit when it comes to education.
One of the key indicators of inequality is the location of the school and students. There is evidence displaying that minority children are more likely to be in high poverty schools. A study done in 2007 found that the average White child will attend a public school above the poverty line vs. an average Black or Hispanic child, who will attend a public school below the poverty line. There are multiple key factors that are intertwined, including the racial/ethnic composition of the school, the poverty level, the location of the school, and immigration. These factors correlate to the level of school performance found within students. There was another study done by Crosnoe (2005), which found that Mexican kindergarteners were in schools with more minorities, higher student poverty levels, lower teacher experience, larger size, and worse community locations than White and Asian students were. There is a clear disparity between races and ethnicities when you look at all of these studies throughout the journals and books.
Another study found that the concentration of Black, Hispanic, and Native American students in high poverty clusters. Public schools are not only separated by race and ethnicity, but the schools themselves are also found to be unequal. There is a repeated sequence of segregation of schools in the analysis of predictors of school performance. When you look at percentiles for Black, Hispanic and Native American children, they are in the 35th to 40th percentile in comparison to the Asian and White children who are in the 60th percentile. There is a continuum of high poverty to no poverty, and the higher in the continuum, the less students of color you see in the data.
Because there is such a strong connection between race and poverty, we would expect to see some racial differences. Even after controlling the variable of poverty and other factors, you can still see the drastic race differences when comparing schools. This is not only an issue between differing schools. but also within them. For example, if you look at Milltown residents, they are increasingly less interested in supporting the school and financial pressures increased as the school became more racially divergent. Public schools rely heavily on public funding and the amount of funding is determined by the majority. If the majority group is White, then they will usually choose to maintain their advantages and the minority groups are not represented. This is a reflection on society which is codependent on White supremacy and capitalism. These systems are kept in place by the majority group to maintain an advantage over the less fortunate. From the words of Susan who used to be a director of the school board at Milltown, “ People are losing their jobs, their homes, and, as I say, people are circling their wagons.” She paused for a moment before adding, in a weary tone, “And their wagons tend to be full of White people.” Circling the wagons pertains to protecting your group and showing loyalty to them. This was exemplified by the people of that town were strongly opposing implementation of a bilingual program throughout the schools. This was despite an increase in immgration and students who speak another language in their home other than English.
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