ESSAY REFLECTION

You do a good job here, but vary your transitions; you used “Based on the data collected” four times. Now … about the NAEP academic proficiency scores, you write: “The Hispanics’ Reading score is less compared to the whites and Asians; they also have maintained on the Mathematics score. It shows that their education system may not be as efficient compared to the Asians and the Whites, their intelligence level may be low compared to Asians and Whites [my emphasis]” (Vega).

I think that what you mean is that ” poverty is a factor affecting students’ results” in the test scores (Vega). if so, make this point clear in your final essay, as it seems as if you are contending that there are different intelligence levels among racial groups, which we know would be an illogical assumption to make, especially when we think of BRILLIANT writers and scientists like Paulo Freire, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pablo Neruda, Langston Hugehes, Maya Angelou, and Mae JemisonLinks to an external site..

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I’m going to ask you to answer this question, and also share some of my notes with you below, which I also shared with your peers. Then, I’m going to issue you a challenge, okay? 🙂

Regarding the statistics, they indicate three things to me.

1. School districts are graduating students who are not prepared for college-level work.

2. There’s INSTITUTIONAL RACISM in the U.S. public educational system; no racial/ethnic group is intellectually superior to another. If Blacks and Hispanics are scoring lowest, then they are not learning the material they need to do well on the test. Something’s wrong with the curriculum at their high schools, as Gewertz contends in her article, and uses statistics to prove.

3. There’s CLASSISM in the U.S. public educational system; students of every racial group who come from a low-income household tend to live in underperforming school districts.

What’s interesting to note is that Whites are 60.8% of the population, and they have a 10.1% poverty rate, so they have more people living in poverty than any other racial group: 20 million. Blacks are 13.4% of the population and they have a 20.8% poverty rate: 10 millon.

Yes, any student of any race who is from a low-income household is at a disadvantage–but more Black students are at a disadvantage. There is a DISPROPORTIONAL number of Blacks (and Hispanics!) living in poverty compared to Whites. Blacks are 2.7 times more likely to live in poverty than Whites. Yes, there are many economically disadvantaged Whites (i.e., living below the poverty line), but there’s also WHITE PRIVILEGE at work in these statistics. A person who is a member of a dominant ethnic/racial group usually has advantages that minority ethnic/racial groups do not have.

Yes, there’s definitely White Privilege in America. But America has always been a class-driven culture, which may not seem obvious to many people, as we don’t have any kind of obvious dictator: a monarchy or lifelong leader. As I wrote to some of your peers in my notes to them, money is KING in the U.S. If a White person comes from a low-income household, then that White person is at a distinct disadvantage–as he or she will probably live in an area with an underfunded and therefore underperforming school district, and find college work very challenging. But does this person enjoy White Privilege? Of course. But to lower-income Whites, this fact is not always obvious. If cops pull us over or shoot us, it’s not because of our skin color. When we are in public, we have the luxury of feeling “normal”; we don’t have to think about how our race will cause people to treat us–unless (and this kind of occasion is usually rare) we find ourselves the only White in a public space. Racism in the U.S. is very complex. Recently when I, a well-dressed White woman, walked into a store with my African American great-nephew, the owner–a dark-skinned man originally from India–treated me very courteously, but he walked one step behind my nephew the whole time my nephew was in the store–with a look in his eyes that I can only describe as passionate hatred. Had I been badly dressed, would he have treated me so nicely? Probably not. But I’m White, and he probably would not have shadowed me in the store with a hostile look in his eyes. (The Indian guy didn’t realize that my nephew and I had walked in together.)

SEE:

Census Bureau Population by Race (Links to an external site.)

Census Bureau Household Income by Race (Links to an external site.)

CHALLENGE:

Imagine that YOU have moved to the U.S., and have become the Secretary of Education for the Federal government. YOU have the power to influence how the President awards and denies government funding to primary, secondary and post-secondary (elementary, middle school, high school and college) schools.

What would YOU do to make sure that students at ALL schools have the opportunity to acquire the foundational skills they need? How would you influence the curriculum–and what would you do about the 98 different kinds of high school diplomas that currently exist?

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