Is Segregation Still Alive In The Classroom?

Is Segregation Still Alive In The Classroom?
For over 50 years segregation has ended. However, is when we step into classrooms, walk on school campuses, look at test scores or even athletics programs, we realize segregation is still present. Indeed, there are vastly different opportunities available to students and teachers from less affluent backgrounds and students and teachers from more affluent backgrounds.  

Inequality in education is a permanent problem in this world that most people thought was fixed. Racism is the cause of this inequality, even though slavery and segregation have been outlawed. The fact that this inequality persists means we need to do something as a nation. The problems of inequality in the classroom, in today’s society and education system, affect students’ success. The government should provide public schools with equivalent funding, resources, quality teachers, facilities, and access to opportunities so that they match the quality of education available in private schools. 

In today’s society money and social status rule everything. They tell you who is more likely to be successful rather than those who are least likely to be successful. In the context of education, students from more affluent households tend to have more opportunities provided to them, while students from less privileged households do not. Valerie Strauss explains that “Districts with higher poverty rates have fewer highly educated, experienced teachers and less stable teaching staffs”, this coincides with the success of the students in these districts. Schools in high poverty areas tend to have a hard time receiving resources and proper funding to help keep the schools running. Strauss states, “black and Hispanic students live to suffer from New York policies and practices that give their schools the fewest resources and their students the least experienced teachers.” In other words, it’s harder for students to receive a quality education because of the lack of resources and experienced teachers. Without a quality education, the students are at a disadvantage compared to students in low poverty areas. 

 A lot of the students who are a part of these high-income families come from households with two parents. While living in a two-parent household, if both parents are workers, it allows more money to flow in between the family, which means fewer problems on how to figure out ways to feed the family, pay for education, and extracurricular activities. As explained by Sabrina Tavernise “wealthy parents invest more time and money than ever before in their children (in weekend sports, ballet, music lessons, math tutors, and in overall involvement in their children’s schools)…[then] lower-income families, which are now more likely than ever to be headed by a single parent…”. The problem of single-parent households is that they can not provide for their children as much as other parents. Most students who come from low-income families have a hard time succeeding in life because they were set up for defeat. Unlike their more affluent counterparts, Alice Yin states, “Minority students are more likely to be taught by inexperienced teachers than experienced teachers in 33 states” which affects a students progress in and out of the classroom. Yet, in the words of Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane, “a child from a poor family is two to four times as likely as a child from an affluent family to have classmates with low skills and behavior problems – attributes which have a negative effect on the learning of their fellow students”. This makes the life for that child ten times harder than that of his/her wealthier counterparts. Schools are testing these students and moderately placing them in a classroom, based on their Knowledge. In addition to the lack of resources, “This failure to meet educational needs increases disengagement and dropouts, increasing the risk of later court ­involvement”, says ACLU. It most nearly seems like America’s education system is designed to abandon students from low-income families. Without experiencing the same opportunities and quality education, it is as if students from lower incomes have a lack of motivation to finish school. Which causes them to be ones stuck inside a prison cell or students who drop out of high school and maybe even college. Once people realize the huge gap difference in education and the equal distribution of quality education, then this will be a problem that will continue to grow. It won’t be an easy problem to fix, but to see the effort in wanting to see change, will make this problem fairly easier to handle. A group called the OECD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, is an organization with 36 member countries whose educational goal is to help individuals and nations develop the knowledge to promote social inclusion. One of the effects of educational inequality is the high dropout rates and in order to stop it, we need to start “Offering at-risk students good career guidance and counseling, as well as making the curriculum more flexible and diverse is helpful. Additional learning support at the end of secondary school may also help to encourage students to stay in school,” states OECD. Also, in schools with high-income students, there’s more parent involvement and school spirit which allows the student to stay focused and stay in school. According to the OECD, “encouraging parental involvement – working with children at home and actively participating in school activities – does improve results”. Students in high poverty neighborhoods should have access to quality teachers who enjoy teaching to improve a child’s knowledge, instead of teachers who teach just for salary or better score results. Philip Ciero, a retired school superintendent, states “Teachers in these challenging schools often lack the experience, qualifications or even the desire to be there. They stay only to gain experience or until vacancies surface in more desirable schools”, quality education cannot be achieved if we don’t have the right teachers in classrooms. 

Furthermore, education inequality starts at home, but it finds its way to enter the classroom. If we don’t take action in improving a quality education that is received and given then, education equality will never find its balance. 

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