Inequality access to education by minority

Different social groups in the United States, particularly California, have had unequal access to education. The minority groups continue to have equitable access to education despite attempts by various stakeholders to close the quality of education gap between them and the dominant majority. African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, LGBT people, and Hispanic Americans are some of the minority groups that do not have proper access to education because of their socioeconomic standing. Many theories and models to explain the issue have been proposed by many scholars and researchers in an effort to emphasize the difficulties minorities have in obtaining education, however the majority of their models have not been successful. Inadequate access to education by the minority is caused by both external and internal factors that are either social, economic or political in nature which requires a comprehensive and multi-dimensional approach to be solved. It is important to understand this problem and factors that contribute to the problem to formulate policies that will ensure minority groups in the society adequately access education.

BackgroundOchoa in his work tries to exemplify the effect of documentation status of immigrants on access to education (Ochoa 6). According to Ochoa, since early 1900s immigrants living in California in the United States have had assimilation problems because native Americans view them as strangers and most of the natives have always strived to make sure that immigrants are not granted same rights as them through legislation. Ochoa poses a question of whether learning English was a mandate for social inclusion or it is a civil right for immigrants (Ochoa n.p). This question emanates from the fact that the Education Act of the early 1900s required that teaching in schools was supposed to be done in English alone without considering other minority races such as Asians and Latinos.

However, the Bilingual Education Act of 1974 was a sigh of relief for minority communities living in the United States because it allowed other races too to access education in their language that they understand (Ochoa n.p). Some propositions of Title VII of 1968 were aimed at discriminating against minority in their quest to have equal rights to access education and other public services. For instance, Proposition 187 of 1994 where undocumented immigrants were supposed to be denied access to public services is an indication that deliberate efforts have been made for some time to deny minority from accessing education.

Results indicate that the test scores in Charter schools are a clear indication of the difference between performance in education by minority and majority groups. Results show that majority of students that school in Charter schools are from minority groups such as the African-Americans and Hispanics. Most of these schools are largely populated with fewer teachers implying that the level of education for students schooling in these institutions is not the same as their white counterparts who are the majority schooling in Ivyin schools.

There is an overrepresentation of African Americans in the Charter schools compared to other races such as Whites and Asians. The evidence further shows that transfer of students from Traditional Public (TPs) schools to Charter schools resonate with the racial segregation in the society.

Kelly in his book records that Black students are disproportionately punished compared to their white counterparts. According to Kelly such disproportionate punishment is not because of outsized rates of misconduct but the rather uneven treatment of minority and majority students in the institutions in California. Statistics indicate that even African Americans in the preschool receive suspensions, this implies that suspensions are given to students by race and not the rate of misconduct. The 48 percent of students in preschools who go for suspension are African Americans compared to only 26 percent of their white counterparts.    

Sociology of Education Relevance

The theme of white supremacy in service access in the United States: The statistic about discrimination on African Americans is a clear indication of how African Americans have been treated differently from whites regarding accessing education in institutions in California. This is because it is not possible that it is only blacks who frequently misbehave than whites. Ochoa notes that one of the major causes of declining performances in schools is high levels of punishment (Ochoa n.p). This, therefore, implies that African Americans are likely to perform poorly in the class because of the frequent suspensions that they receive from in school. This implies that racial discrimination has been institutionalized and even stakeholders in schools have greatly embraced it.

Stereotype threat theory is another important concept that tries to explain unequal access to education by the minority groups in the United States. Ochoa notes that college attendance for blacks has been quite low since the 1980s and using the "Bell curve" argument he attempts to unearth the reasons why the rates of college attendance have been low. According to this argument, derogatory institutional/societal perceptions negatively affect student performance. That is students who face negative stereotypes are more likely to underperform in their studies if they become conscious of the stereotypes. Furthermore, students who experienced negative stereotypes tend to disidentify themselves from the rewarding school system. They also fear that negative appraisals in colleges hinder future success and the negatively affected stereotyped students argue that policy reform is not enough to address this fear unless perceptions about equity are dealt with.

The theme of the American dream where every Citizen of the United States is supposed to enjoy equal services and freedom in the country after independence (Pang et al. 182). Equal education for all was one of the pillars of the American dream, but this dream has not been realized despite the many years that have passed since the Declaration of Independence. Children for African Americans, Latinos, and other immigrant groups have unequal access to education compared to Native Americans (Pang et al. 184). This is contrary to the American Dream where everybody living in America is supposed to access the services on an equal basis.


The first contributor to the problem is of unequal education for minority groups are the institutions where students enroll for learning. From the research, it seems that segregation regarding race, color, and sexual orientation is institutionalized and acceptable in numerous institutions of learning in the United States. This is evident in the sense that the number of students from minority groups is experiencing discrimination in accessing education in different learning institutions both in Chicago, California, and other states. This is not a coincidence but rather a culture that both pre-school institutions and institutions of higher learning have embraced for many years.

Another reason for inequality in education by minority groups are policies and policy makers. Both the state and federal governments have not put in place right policies to make sure that access to education by the minority groups is equal to their majority counterparts. Authors note that access to adequate education facilities is inequitable and that is the reason why children from white neighborhoods go to schools that are well equipped compared to children from poor neighborhoods. The majority of the stakeholders in the education sector are not ready to break the social status, and for this reason, they do not pass relevant policies that ensure equal access to education by all. Harris survey gives enough evidence of stuffed and poor facilities for teachers who teach English learners compared to native speakers. This is because of the stakeholders in the education sector that are responsible for releasing fund for developing education infrastructure.

The social and economic status of the minority groups are also factors that contribute to inequality in the education among the groups, and therefore they should be considered. Most of the African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and transgender groups come from poor neighborhoods, and therefore they are regarded as people of low social class. This groups from low social class are regarded as underclass citizens and a source of social disorganization because they are regarded as violent and criminals in the society. For this reason, the harsh treatment meted on them by the authorities such as police and criminal justice system is also extended to school. Furthermore, because of the low social class for these minority groups, many cannot afford to enroll in good schools that are equipped. The government also allocates fewer teachers and resources to their schools which worsen their education conditions.

The major solution to reducing inequality in education for minority groups is to reduce financial and social barriers to accessing the quality education through an increase in grants for needy and poor students and coordination of private—sector scholarship. This will ensure that adequate funds are available for needy students from minority communities to access quality education like their majority counterparts that come from affluent families.

Another solution is for educational institutions to be flexible in considering socioeconomic and racial background as some of the factors when enrolling students, as a means of promoting diversity in the student body. The Congress should also come up with a concrete DREAM Act which allows students who are unregistered immigrants but are promising academically to attain legal immigration status and pursue education to the highest level possible. This Act will ensure that no student is discriminated against by their immigration statuses.


In conclusion, it is clear that the issue of inequality in access to education for minority groups is diverse and needs an in-depth analysis for it to be addressed. The statistics and facts presented by various researchers and authors are quite alarming because it seems the problem of inequality has been institutionalized and integrated into the education system which makes it difficult for stakeholders to solve it ones and for all. To address the challenge, a multi-dimensional and gradual approach to the problem must be taken. This approach calls for first addressing the mentality among students and teachers in the institutions because they are the major engineers of inequality in education access. Secondly, is for policymakers to take a proactive approach in policy formulation to make sure that minority groups that are mostly isolated can get equal education opportunities. However, there is a research gap that needs to be filled concerning some of the specific reforms that have been undertaken over time to address the problem of inequality in access to education.

Works cited

Boggs, Grace L, and Scott Kurashige. The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, 2012. Print.

Ochoa, Gilda L. Academic Profiling: Latinos, Asian Americans, and the Achievement Gap. , 2013. Print.

Pang, V., Stratton, T., Park, C., Madueño, M., Atlas, M., Page, C., & Oliger, J. (2010). The American DREAM and Immigrant Students. Race, Gender & Class, 17(1/2), 180-193. Retrieved from

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