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Race And Social Class: Education And Criminal Justice System

1437 words - 6 pages

America demands that all youth receive an education and that its educational system is free and open to all—regardless of class, race, ethnicity, age, and gender. However, the system is failing. There is still inequality in the educational system, and minorities’ experience with education is shaped by discrimination and limited access, while white people’s experience with education is shaped by privilege and access. The educational experience for minorities is still segregated and unequal. This is because the number of white children that are withdrawn from school by their parents is higher than the number of people of color enrolling. White parents are unconsciously practicing the idea of “blockbusting,” where minorities begin to fill up a school; whites transfer their children to a school that has a small or no minority population. They unconsciously feel like once their child is in a school full of minorities that school would not get the proper funding from the federal government. Bonilla-Silvia (2001) states that “[i]nner-city minority schools, in sharp contrast to white suburban schools, lack decent buildings, are over-crowded, [and] have outdated equipment…” (97). The “No Child Left Behind” Act, which holds schools accountable for the progress of their students, measures students’ performance on standardized tests. Most white children that are in suburban schools are given the opportunity to experience education in a beneficial way; they have more access to technology, better teachers, and a safe environment for learning. Hence, white students’ experience with the education system is a positive one that provides knowledge and a path to success. Also, if their standardized testing is low, the government would give the school less money, but that amount would be much more than inner-city schools would get. Lacking qualified teachers, school materials and resources, minorities in poor, inner-city schools have little possibility of doing well on the standardized testing; thus, their school funding is severely reduced or cut off. Almost two-thirds of African-Americans attend schools that are predominately minority. For example, “[a]t Adlai Stevenson High School, which enrolls 3,400 students, blacks and Hispanics made up 97 percent of the student population; a mere eight tenth of one percent were white” (Kozol 2005:1). This gap between whites and minorities in education causes minorities to dropout before completing high school and increases the chance of whites becoming more educated. Bonilla-Silva reveals the disparity in graduation rates: “66 percent of blacks compared to 79 percent of whites had completed high school in 1990” (2001:97). Children of minorities are more inclined to feel that they are worthless and that the government is not giving them the opportunity to express who they are, while white children feel like they are privileged and the system is working with them to benefit their chance of attaining knowledge.
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