Inequality in America’s Education Institutions

Latinos and Educational Inequity

Latinos have fought against educational inequity and school segregation throughout the 20th century. Numerous statistics paint an unmistakable image of the substandard education that Black and Latino children receive. More than any other group, Latinos are divided based on their color, level of poverty, and language. According to a number of researchers, Latinos have the highest incidence of high school dropouts of any ethnicity. The majority of schools that primarily serve low-income children of color offer a lower education than those that frequently serve White and Asian students. Latino student segregation has increased steadily as their population has increased and more and more of them are residing in neighborhoods with few white or middle-class neighbors. Most Latino students have often demonstrated lower test scores, weaker college preparation, and higher dropout rates than those who attend schools that are mostly white. Despite the fact that school segregation is no longer sanctioned by law, it still remains a reality owing to the housing patterns, racism as well as historical tradition.

Academic Performance and School Segregation

According to Schneider, Martinez, and Owen (193), the initial achievement difference between Hispanic and white students is consistent throughout middle school and high school. If the academic performance of Latino students over the last two decades is traced through data from National Assessment Educational Progress (NAEP), it is evident that Latino students still lag behind. School segregation has only contributed to these trends because there are no effective interventions that have been instituted. Further, schools that serve large numbers of minority students, many of whom come from low-income families, have the highest dropout rates. Schneider, Martinez, and Owen underline that most Hispanic students remain concentrated in large urban school systems including Los Angeles, New York, as well as Chicago where the overall graduation rates are less than 60 percent (196). School segregation has often led many educators as well as policymakers to overlook the need for retention programs in schools where there are many non-completers.

Barriers to College Access

School segregation partly accounts for the lower incidence of minority high school students immediately attending college. Firstly, schools that serve predominantly Hispanic are less likely to produce students who meet criteria that most admission offices utilize to recruit students. Minorities are less likely to attend a high school that offers Advanced Placement tests. Additionally, segregated schools that serve minorities do not appear to provide sufficient access to information regarding college application as well as financial aid options.

Impact of Teacher Qualifications and Expectations

Less qualified teachers tend to serve schools with large numbers of low-income and minority children. Many teachers in minority schools are often forced to teach in disciplines that they are not qualified to teach. This is caused by the schools’ budget cuts as well as the lack of teachers in particular subjects, thus compelling other teachers to make up for the slack (Adamson and Darling-Hammond 1). Additionally, teachers’ perception of students and expectations of their performance have consistently been contended to predict academic outcomes. Teachers in predominantly white, Black, and Hispanic classrooms often expect less of these children compared with their white counterparts.

Residential Segregation and Inequality

Conclusively, residential segregation has led to highly segregated elementary and high schools, and it is a basic cause of racial differences in the quality of education. School segregation has inherently perpetuated inequality in American educational institutions. Racially segregated schools in black as well as Latino neighborhoods have relatively fewer educational resources and overall lower test scores, and they rank lower on outcome-based assessments.

Works Cited

Adamson, Frank, and Linda Darling-Hammond. “Addressing the inequitable distribution of teachers: What it will take to get qualified, effective teachers in all communities.” Research Brief: Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (2011).

Schneider, Barbara, Sylvia Martinez, and Ann Owens. “Barriers to educational opportunities for Hispanics in the United States.” Hispanics and the future of America (2006): 179-227.

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