The Issue of Racism in Schools: Discrimination and Inequality Gap

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Racism in Schools

Racism has always been a contentious issue in the classroom, and it's no different today. When the topic of racism is broached, a torrent of emotions emerges. As a result, most people refuse to discuss or handle the issue. Racism is an issue that many children face in schools, and the subject is so murky that it's difficult to know where to begin. There is a possibility that a lack of clarity can come from the wide range of racist connotations. There are numerous ways in which racism appears in educational settings. Youngsters who exhibit racist conduct against their peers at school account for most of the causes of racism. Racism in schools is exacerbated through mascots, instructional methods, textbooks, and teachers. A variety of circumstances causes racism in the classroom. Teachers' attitudes, ability groups, teacher assignments, the usage of IQ tests, and segregation are factors in determining a school's success. Racism in school is reinforced daily through these attitudes and actions.

School Districts

Many schools are in a continuous state of trying to abolish racism in the classroom. Racism isn’t just the color of one’s skin, but also the economic and wealth level of families. With the rise in immigrant and undocumented children, teachers have had to deal with the overcrowding of their classrooms and not getting the support from their districts. With poverty and the racial makeup of schools rising, the education system has had to change to meet the needs these students, from homelessness to physical trauma. Teachers have now had to add social acceptance to their lessons because of the division of ethnic backgrounds that is still being seen. This was noted in the video, “Color-Blindness: Fighting Racism in Schools.” The majority of the students in this video stated that not enough is being done to combat racism in schools. Many kids are still being bullied and blamed for the actions of others due to their race. The students are not seen as one entity but as small groups who associate with each other of the same ethnic backgrounds.

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Even if children are going to better schools, they are still not getting the support that is needed to help them become successful in their education. For example, teachers have had to become social workers, nurses, first responders, counselors, surrogate parents, translators, and mediators because they are not receiving the resources that are needed for children in poverty or of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. This does a disservice to these children because they are not receiving the education that they deserve as their white middle-class counterparts. These issues, along with others, show that discrimination doesn’t have to be physically seen by others but it does show how it can be camouflaged within the educational system.

Educational Inequality

As stated by the author, Gamoran (2015), although black–white gaps in high school completion and college enrollment have narrowed, the gap in college completion has widened (Gamoran, 2015). This shows that blacks versus whites completing high school has decreased but blacks versus whites completing college has increased. Many parents who have a higher educational background and better jobs have children who follow in their parents’ footsteps which decreases the inequality in education. It has been shown not to be completely true though. Even if parents receive a college degree and have better jobs, many African Americans do not move out of their lower income neighborhoods and their children do not get the see the whole picture of their parent’s success. This leads to children not advancing their own education.

Another reason there is still inequality in schools may have to do with how the new Common Core State Standards are being implemented and the standardized tests that students are taking. As Gorman (2015) stated, higher standards lead to elevated performance, CCSS implementation has the potential to reduce inequality by raising minimum performance levels for low-achieving students (2015). Even though this is one of the goals of the Common Core State Standards, it still affects inequality. Depending on how teachers teach the standards and what resources that those teachers have to implement them, can affect the state test results given by the district. Tests that the students take are always affected by where the child grows up and how they are raised which in turn increases inequality. If the child grows up in a low-income area where their learning is limited or diminished and their parents are too busy working the spend quality time with them, their test scores will be lower than a child’s who lives in a wealthy neighborhood and their parents are able to spend and build the background knowledge with them.

Conclusion

In closing, even though the inequality gap is getting narrower, there will always be circumstances that will hinder it from closing completely. More effort and support from school districts is needed to get appropriate materials for all students, no matter their race, in order to minimize the inequality gap and get as close to zero as possible.

References

  1. Noguera, P.A. (2017) Introduction to “racial inequality and education: patterns and prospects for the future.” The Educational Forum, 81(2), pp. 129-135.
  2. Gamoran, A. (2015). The future of educational inequality in the United States.
  3. OhioLINK Digital Resource Commons, 1999, Color-Blind: Fighting Racism in Schools (Video file), URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2374.OX/60166
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