Race And Education
The topic of race and education has been a controversial one around the world, as grades are significantly lower for some races than others, and so too does the level of education vary amongst races. The question that is asked is that is this due to systematic discrimination against certain races?
There are many trends in the US and many Western countries, which show that some races achieve significantly less than other, and this gap exists from school to college years. From an early age, a gap exists. For example, in the 4th grade there is a 26-point gap in mathematics between white and black pupils, with the white students scoring 26 points higher, on average. A similar gap exists between Hispanics and white students, with white students scoring 21 points higher than their Hispanic classmates.
The completion rates of high school between the races is also extremely difference, with 91% of white students completing high school, but only 85.6% and 65.7% of black and Hispanic students complete high school respectively. Black Americans also receive suspension at a far higher rate than white students, they make up 16% of school enrollment yet 32% of students who receive in-school suspensions are black.
This gap further exists into higher education, due to the large number of minority students who do not make it that far. 33% of white people in the US have a bachelor or advanced degree, compared to only 19% of black people, which again shows a very high gap between the races.
Many claim that the reason for the achievement gap is not due to institutionalized racism or discrimination, but cultural influences have a hand to play for it. For example, home activities which encourage children to read and write are far more encouraged in white households than black households, therefore giving white children more of an advantage in schools. However, many researchers have claimed that black parents have less access to material to engage their child with, have less time due to manual labour jobs and be less comfortable reading due to being less educated than their white counterparts.
A lack of diversity in children’s books has also been cited as a possible reason why black and Hispanic children are less likely to be interested in reading and writing. While about half of children under 5 are non-white, the characters in children’s books are overwhelmingly white.
The achievement gap that exists between the races in America cannot be fully explained away by cultural reasons, and there is a strong suspicion that it could possibly be due to institutionalized discrimination against students of certain race, however there is no strong evidence to suggest this, outside of statistics, which don’t tell us the whole picture.