Education Inequality in America
On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court declared the end of segregation in public schools in the famous Brown vs. Board of Education case. This case upheld the previous ruling of “separate but equal” schools as they declared that racial segregation in public schools violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. This case brought hope of the end of segregation and racism in America. Sixty years later, our schools are as segregated and unfair as ever before. Schools are segregated by white students and minorities, and the white majority schools continually get more funds from the state.
The modern segregation in public schools creates an unfair advantage for white students while setting minority students up to fail. One of the main problems with today’s education system is the inequality of teachers. Teachers are very important because they motivate students while teaching them important information. Without quality teachers, students are left on their own to learn the material while staying motivated to make it through school. Studies have shown that, “Black, Latino and Native American students attended schools with higher concentrations of first-year teachers (3 to 4 percent) than white students (1 percent). Black students were also more than three times as likely to attend schools where fewer than 60 percent of teachers meet all state certification and licensure requirements.
Latino students were twice as likely to attend such schools” (Hsieh). These stats clearly show an inequality in our education system. These under qualified teachers do not help set the students up for success. Instead students are left to struggle on their own while many drop out of high school. Why is it that the new teachers are put into schools that the majority of the students are African American or Latino? This is because of the unequal funding by the government. Schools with more white students tend to get more funding from the state allowing them to have a better curriculum and learning experience.
As the result “A quarter of the schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino students did not offer algebra II. A third of these schools did not offer chemistry” (Hsieh). This data shows how African American students are put at a huge disadvantage because of the limited curriculum. Classes like algebra II and chemistry are very important classes for students who are interested in science and engineering. By not providing students with these classes, they are immediately put in a position to fail. The lack of funding to poorer schools is the main reason why the best teachers avoid these schools.
Teachers would like to take the highest paying job possible and that normally means working at the white student majority schools. The unequal funding of schools is one of the main problems we have today in our country. This unequal funding makes it impossible for poorer students to graduate and go to college. In order to fix this problem there are two things that need to happen. First, public schools need to make sure every teacher is qualified to teach at the highest level. This means that poorer schools will get better teachers therefore the students will have better opportunities in school.
Good teachers motivate students to do well in school and prepare them for college. If we stop sending all the new teachers to the poorer schools we will start to see lower dropout rates and better standardized test scores from these schools. The second thing that needs to happen is the state needs to fund each school equally. This will enhance the curriculum in poorer schools giving students opportunities to take harder classes. Having a diverse curriculum is very important as it allows students to choose what they want to learn and sets them up for success in the future. Every student should have an equal opportunity to learn and in order for this to happen, the public school system needs to change.
It was sixty years ago that we declared that segregation in public schools was illegal yet we live in a world today that schools are as segregated as they were in the past yet we neglect to admit this is true. Racism belongs nowhere in today’s society, especially not in our schools.