Investigating Critical & Contemporary Issues in Education/Racial Imbalances

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Rebecca Petty

Camden Campus

Chapter 2: Racial Imbalances


Throughout the United States today there is a continuously growing population of minority groups. The U.S is experiencing a huge growth in multicultural education. The white race is shrinking as other races are drastically increasing. In 2005, minorities accounted for about 33% of the nations population. The population also increased in the education systems. The Hispanic race contributed to most of the growth in minority groups (Gollnick, Chinn, 2009). “ From 1999 to 2005, the number of students taking Advanced Placement Exams increased by a larger percentage among minority students than among white students” (National center for education statistics). Student behavior plays an important role in the performance of children in and out of school, as do the roles of the parents. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, displays a good example of how children no matter their ethnicity, gender, stature or capability to succeed, are to be treated equally. These are all factors that greatly influence the racial imbalance in the school systems (National center for education statistic).

The growth among minorities in the U.S has vastly increased since the 1990’s. The Hispanic division has outnumbered the African American division and has grown tremendously over the past decades. A group called the Asian/Pacific Islanders is another group discovered growing rapidly in the states. From 1990 to 2005 this group grew from 3.2 million to 12.8 million. Minorities are going to continue to grow rapidly in the upcoming years and may some day outnumber the white Americans. It is said that by the year 2020 the minority population will grow about 32% (National center for education statistics).

Student conduct and parent involvement both play an important role in the lives of succeeding students. If a child is struggling in the classroom there is a slightly higher chance that he/she may end up rebelling, quitting school or making bad choices in life. Some minority children may feel out of place and distant from other children. They may feel as though they are being ignored or forgotten because of their racial identity, subsequently, causing them to fail in school. Parent involvement is an added bonus to succeeding and continuing education. The more parents interact with their children, statistics show, the better they do in school. Most minority parents are not concerned about the curriculum schools are teaching. They believe the schools know what they are doing, so they do not get involved. This however, is not true and most children will greatly benefit from being taught in the classroom as well as out of the classroom (Vang, 2006).

The NCLB or No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was produced in order to improve the education for the disabled and underprivileged students. Former President George W. Bush signed this act into law on January 8, 2002 (Research Center). However, many have argued that it has only made learning more difficult for children. One main goal of the NCLB was to close the achievement gap between white students and poor or minority students. Throughout the nation achievement gaps exists among minorities and their white counterparts (Subnet, 2009). Research concludes that along with poor academic performance, a main factor that contributes to school failure rates is mainly social imbalances (Lagara-Riordan, Aguilar, 2009). There should be a drastic change in the system and the way things are being dealt with. By going through every piece of information and data gathered from the faculty, students and parents and reassessing the issue may indeed help strengthen the system.

In Taunton, Massachusetts a man by the name of Author W. Steller has transformed a few of the public schools into successful places of employment. He has exceeded in raising the dropout rate from 4.2% to 6.8%. One school finished first in English language arts and finished second in math out of 22 other schools on the same district. One particular fourth grade class had 80% of their children in the low-income division. Most of them were on free or reduced lunches with little money to spare. The class finished third highest in math among the states 1,176 elementary schools. It seems Steller is on the right path. By instilling in parents how important education is to their children, he has successfully raised the attendance levels. By succeeding in raising attendance and the dropout rate, Steller rewards his schools with new whiteboards or computers (Ullman, 2009). However, not every school is able to buy new technology such as computers or whiteboards but there are alternate ways in which to give rewards such as, parties, removing homework for a week, etc.

The role minorities play in society and in the school systems are changing due to vast growth throughout the U.S. The Hispanic race is the largest minority group in the United States today. While minority groups are growing both in percentage and numbers, they are widely spread throughout the country. They represent the highest number in the regional population with 44%. The population in the south is about 37% and in the northeast about 28% (National center for education statistics). With all the changes in race and culture come changes in the school systems and how children are being taught. Schools are going to have to adapt to the different cultures and languages, meaning, other sources of teaching will have to be available in order for everyone to learn equally.


Work Cited

1. Education Week American Education News Site of Record. 24 Sept. 2004. Web. 02 Sept. 2009. <http://www.edweek.org>.

2. Lagana-Riordan, Christine, and Jemel P. Aguilar. "What's Missing from No Child Left Behind?" What's Missing from No Child Left Behind? (2009). Abstract.: n. pag. Print.

3. Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society. 8th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc., 2009. Print.

4. Nga Center for best practices. Home Page. Web. 02 Sept. 2009. <http://www.subnet.nga.org>.

5. Ullman, Ellen. "There is Truth in Data." District Profile (2009): 1-20. Print.

6. U.S. Department of Education Home Page. Web. 02 Sept. 2009. <http://www.ed.gov>.

7. Vang, Christopher T. Multicultural Education. Vol. 14. Print.


Megan Good

Brunswick Campus

Chapter 2 Racial Imbalances


It is no secret that there is a race gap in test results, graduation numbers and drop out rates in schools. There are numerous reasons for all of this. Some say the richer will have better test results than the poorer, or depending on what environment the person is apart of has an effect on score, or simply ethnicity and background have a role in the results of test on students in school. Every reason someone has thought upon on why test results have such an enormous race gap in test have been tested. The racial imbalance in schools across America is one of the top issues facing schools today. “Large numbers of nation’s children leave school, with a and without high school diplomas, barely able to read, write, and do simple math. But the failures of schools are not evenly distributed.” (Berlak) This chapter discusses instances on White Flight, the causes of achievement gaps between races, faculty composition, and our current legislation involving racial imbalances.

White Flight is the “sociologic and demographic term denoting the trend wherein white people flee desegregated urban communities, and move to other places like commuter towns; although an American coinage, “white flight” denotes like behavior in other countries.” (Wikipedia) White Flight took place after World War II in the early 1950’s in most suburban areas. In 1954 two very important US Supreme Court cases terminated desegregation. Instead of being “separate, but equal”, the separate has been dropped and everyone has equal right. Before desegregation was ruled out of schools across America, yes everyone had equal rights, supposedly. It was not anywhere near equal. Non-whites had it very harsh with very unreasonable rules about where they had to sit, drink or even walk. Even during the time period where the government had terminated and abolished the “separate, but equal”, some people still did not agree or follow by the law. They found ways around it. For instance, sending their white children. Another type of white flight was cultural white flight. Cultural white flight involved “withdrawing white children from the mixed-race public school system and matriculating them to private schools unaffected by U.S. federal anti-racist laws.” (Wikipedia) So even after the termination of the desegregation, some people still try to separate the children by making sure the white students went to a private school. Some people have never and will never understand that race and color do not matter. Eventually after a certain amount of time, all schools were racially mixed.

Schools have always had charts, tables or graphs that show them the differences in age, gender or race results of testing. And since schools have been segregated it is easier to have results of race within one school. One test that is given in public schools is the National Assessment of Educational Progress. This one particular example shows the achievement gaps between African Americans and Whites in the Mathematical and Reading areas. They chat testing results based on age or grade. “At grade 8, mathematics gaps existed in 2007 in the 41 states for which results were available. The gaps were narrower in 2007 than in 1990 in four states: Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. In all four, scores for both Black and White students increased, but scores for Black students increased more.” (Anderson, Hamilton, & Vanneman) And for reading “at grade 8, reading gaps existed in 2007 in 41 of the 42 states for which results were available…There was no significant change in the gap in ay state from 1998 to 2007.” (Anderson, Hamilton, & Vanneman) So from the test we can determine within the same year, one subject in school my have a large or small achievement gap and another may not have an achievement gap at all. Another test that shows a racial imbalance in test results would be that SAT. In this test result, we are shown all the races with the average SAT score, which consists of math and verbal test results together.


“SAT Ethnic Group Scores

                                 (Math/Verbal+total) 
                
                American Indian---482/480 (962) 
                Asian American-----575/508 (1083) 
                African American-----426/431 (857) 
                Puerto Rican----457/448 (905)
                Other Hispanic----464/457 (921)
                White-----534/529 (1063) 
                Other ----513/501 (1014)”                 (Blackexcel.org)

The SAT score results do not show much of a difference between the racial groups. The ACT results do the same. On the average, the scores range from 19 to 22 between the racial groups. Every test always has racial achievement gaps or imbalances. Some have very small gaps that do not make much of a difference and others have enormous gaps. One thing that would help our achievement gaps is our faculty.

Faculty members have different ways of improving the racial imbalances in their classrooms. Some faculty believes that having a smaller class will help improve the achievement gaps in testing. “The results indicate that, while students are in small classes, average test scores increase by 7-10 percentile points for black students and by 3-4 percentile points for white students.” (Krueger, A) Reading further on in this paper, you learn that after being placed back in a regular size class from the smaller class, both Whites and African Americans test scores increased. Faculty have also studied and tested if the smaller class have an affect on the SAT and ACT. “We also find that having attended a small class compared to regular-size class raises the likelihood that black students take the ACT or SAT college entrance exams from 31.8 to 41.3 percent, and raises the likelihood that white students take one of the exams from 44.7 to 46.4 percent.” (Krueger, A) Another way teachers improve achievement gaps are after school programs. This gives the children extra time to practice their skills they need to know to do well in school. In order to improve achievement gaps teachers cannot be the only ones who try to improve, the government has to have a part in what they believe is right.

The current legislation we have right now trying to improve the achievement gaps in test results and the drop out rates of students is the “No child left behind” program. While we are still trying to work this out and to see if it will actually work, some people believe it will and others believe it won’t. Everyone has his or her own opinion on this program.

I believe that achievement gaps are very important in schools across the United States. It not there to tell us who is smarter in certain areas, it is there to show us and help us in the areas that need help. If there is a drastic achievement gap in math scores, well maybe smaller classes should be looked at for math. I think achievement gap results in the end help us understand the children that are taught and it makes the faculty ask themselves, what can we do to fix this achievement gap?


Work Cited

Berlak, H. (2001). Race and the Achievement Gap. Rethinking Schools Online, 15. No. 4. http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/15_04/Race154.shtml.

Anderson, Hamilton, & Vanneman. (2209). Achievement Gaps. Institute of Education Sciences. 6-7. http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/44/8c/79.pdf.

Smith, S.E. (2009). What is White Flight? WiseGeek. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-white-flight.htm. (2009). White Flight. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_flight#Desegregation:_public_schools_and_student_busing.

Editor, (2005-2006). SAT and ACT Scores by Race/Ethnicity: 2003. 2006 College & University. http://www.blackexcel.org/06-sat-act-scores-by-race-ethnicity.htm.

Krueger, A. (2001). Would Smaller Classes Help Close the Black-White Achievement Gap? Princeton University & NBER. 2-3. http://www.irs.princeton.edu/pubs/pdfs/451.pdf.