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The Segregation Of America's School System

894 words - 4 pages

America’s school system and student population remains segregated, by race and class. The inequalities that exist in schools today result from more than just poorly managed schools; they reflect the racial and socioeconomic inequities of society as a whole. Most of the problems of schools boil down to either racism in and outside the school or financial disparity between wealthy and poor school districts. Because schools receive funding through local property taxes, low-income communities start at an economic disadvantage. Less funding means fewer resources, lower quality instruction and curricula, and little to no community involvement. Even when low-income schools manage to find adequate funding, the money doesn’t solve all the school’s problems. Most important, money cannot influence student, parent, teacher, and administrator perceptions of class and race. Nor can money improve test scores and make education relevant and practical in the lives of minority students.
School funding is systemically unequal, partially because the majority of school funding comes from the school district’s local property taxes, positioning the poorest communities at the bottom rung of the education playing field. A student’s socioeconomic status often defines her success in a classroom for a number of reasons. Students who live below the poverty line have less motivation to succeed, and their parents are less inclined to participate in their child’s education, often because the parents cannot provide support for their children. Although it’s logical that school districts from poorer communities cannot collect as much funding as the richer communities, persons stuck in these low-income communities often pay higher taxes, and still their school districts cannot accumulate as much money. The inequality of funding illustrated here shows how the real estate practices and zoning restrictions that discriminate against blacks and minorities. These practices help maintain the status quo, helping low-income families remain poor. Moreover, it requires these low-income families to depend on government assistance, such as low-income housing and welfare. The reliance on assistance programs groups the poorest people in the same housing projects and communities, overwhelming schools with low-income students. Not only do these real estate practices concentrate the poorest in an area together, they also drive the often whiter, more affluent families out. The majority of poor feel they have no opportunity to transcend class restrictions, and the property taxes that fund our schools do not alleviate their stress. Further, homogeneous collections of poor means that school populations are rarely as diverse as we believe.
Schools systematically subjugate minority and black students when a school’s enrollment contains a huge racial majority. If students have no exposure to persons of different ethnicities, cultures, races, and religions, then these students will experience culture...

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