Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Black, Latino Students Perform at Levels of 30 Years Ago


In class I've stressed the importance of math and reading (and philosophy really, which sort of represents both). Now, this news from the Huffington Post:
Despite the hope that improving education for children of color would propel them to better life outcomes, Latino and African-American students are not being prepared in high school classrooms for brighter futures. While achievement levels have improved considerably for minority elementary and middle school students, educators say their academic performance drops during high school years. How prevalent is the achievement gap at the high school level? On average, African-American and Latino high school seniors perform math and read at the same level as 13-year-old white students.
Then there is this Department of Education chart stating the obvious.  
 Blacks drop out of school at twice the rate of whites and trail in double digits behind whites and Asians on the School Performance Assessment Program, a series of tests administered to students in third, fifth and eighth grades. Gaps persist on the Scholastic Assessment Test as well. Black males, for instance, trail whites more than 126 points on the mathematics part and by 104 points on the verbal portion of the exam given to college-bound students.
Let's keep in mind this study by Datnow & Cooper (1996):
Many African-American students enter school environments with less academic preparation than their majority counterparts. This lack of preparation often stems from the limited resources and lower expectations that characterize the schools they previously attended. This is contrary to the conclusion drawn by some of their classmates, who believe that African-American students's poor preparation stems from their limited intellectual capabilities. This misperception contributes to the difficulties faced by some African-American students in independent schools. On the one hand, they acknowledge a gap in their knowledge base and, in some cases, work twice as hard to compensate for that gap. On the other hand, for certain students, the gap is so wide in their knowledge base that although they work twice as hard as their fellow classmates, it takes several years before their hard work becomes evident in their academic performance.
What is the cause for this problematic gap? Deficient teaching? Family disintegration? Scholastic values? Social anomie?  Wrong values? Veiled (or perceived) discrimination? 

What can we do to change this situation?

Let's get to work!

This post closes next Monday at 11pm

48 comments:

Shelley Reeder said...

I believe that with any student a number of things can play into why their learning level is the way it is. Could it be cultural? Could it be social? Could it be prejudice from the educational system itself? Could it be a result of a long and devastating history of prejudice in this country? It could quite possibly be a combination of all of these things. I have seen educators myself make prejudice remarks about students from such ethnic backgrounds and what is sad is the students hear this and then feel the lack of encouragement from the very place that encouragement is important. With any student no matter what background, the family dynamics are also important. Who is at home raising the students of today? Who is there making sure not that just the bare minimum homework gets done but that the student also has a passion for learning and a healthy relationship with their education? What happens at home is vital to a student because when we really get down to it the learning environment directly impacts the learning environment at school. If a student is a first generation high school graduate that will put the pressure on even more.

Secondly, when we get down to the problem of the history of discrimination that is still going on in this country, it directly impacts the world of education. How is someone supposed to learn and grown intellectually when they are discriminated against? I for one would find it very hard to do. As I mentioned above, I have seen the impacts of what happens when a student overhears a teacher being prejudice now let’s amplify how that feels if there has been a history of that prejudice over time throughout the country; what impact would that have? An astronomical one, which is what we are seeing when it comes to the data given in the above posting by Professor Triff.

In closing, it is vital to each and every student to feel that they are believed in not only within the classroom but also at home. Whether it is mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, aunt, uncle, sister, or brother, someone needs to be at home letting students know that they are believed it. Education starts at home and it has a generational ripple effect. How many times have we heard students talk about the family members have come before them and how that has impacted their own choices when it comes to their own education? Many times whether negative or positive. What impacts one generation can and does impact another .

Anonymous said...

Meisel Vera

In my opinion, I believe that many Latino and Black descendents have such a low educational level because there is lack of effort. They don’t see examples around them, so there is practically no motivation. Also by them surrounding themselves with low educational people, they will follow that example instead of the right one. Also if your family isn’t big on enforcing school you will most likely not make school a priority. A big part is played by the school they attend. If you attend a low educational school, you will most likely not have such a high reading or mathematics level as others. It all depends where you place yourself. As for example, I will speak from personal experience, when kids come from Cuba they associate themselves with people they are “comfortable” with. This is bad. Because the people they are comfortable with will most likely not speak English. And so they don’t learn the language. I, myself, when I came from Cuba I was in the third grade. I was placed in ESOL classes, but quickly exited the program. Because I associated myself with people that spoke English and I also watched programs in English leaving me with no other option than to learn the language. What we can do to change this situation is putting our own effort and stop placing ourselves in “comfortable” environments and always pushing ourselves.

Marcel said...

I don't think that discrimination, which I am aware that is still present nowadays, is an issue to move academically forward. No one can stop you to study as long as you want to, and the resources, which MDC is perfect example, are available for everyone who wants to, as well as financial aid. On the other hand, from MDC you could strive as high as you want to, even without being in the Honors College, example? Myself. I got accepted in the College of Engineering of Brown, Cornell University and Georgia Institute of Technology, being the last one the one that I will attend to. I learned English 3 years ago, using Adult Classes at night. The resources are there for everyone, regardless your race.

I agree with Meisel, regarding how important is that parents play an active role in feeding the curiosity of their kids, curiosity which is natural in everyone of them. There is true that some students become successful even without someone pushing them but those are rare scenarios, and in general a kid will go through the easiest way, which is not facing the challenge imposed by school.

On the other hand I think that teachers have nothing to do with the performance of the student, and the students who can't do more than blaming everyone else for their performance rather than blaming themselves for not studying enough, are those who have poor averages, drops their classes so forth and so on. At this level a professor is no more than a guide, which you may follow or not, is up to you. Even in MDC there are professors who require the student to care about the class which I think is a waste of time from part of the professor, yes, at this level no one can tell you what to do.

Moreover, I work as a tutor in the STEM FYE, tutoring all courses of Physics, Chemistry and Math, I have found examples in students who are currently taking Calculus III and have serious problems in their algebra, which I find it as a serious issue in the system because, how a student reaches Calculus III presenting such problems in algebra? Some professor got to be doing really wrong.

Shelley Reeder said...

@ Marcel

I believe that teachers can have a major influence and impact on the performance of a student. Observing students in the classroom for a previous class assignment in one of my teaching courses I saw that some students looked to the teacher as a "guide" like you said that some professors are guides. Discrimination can impact and influence some students sadly. Some students thank goodness do not pay attention to ignorant people who are discriminatory. A student has to want to learn and use the resources yes but there are so many factors that can come into play to cause them not to reach for those resources or that learning opportunity in front of them. You make some good points, some of your points I do not agree with and some I do agree with. This conversation we are having is not meant to be one of agreeing with one another, it is one meant to problem solve and talk things out, which is one thing I am glad we are doing.

Shelley Reeder said...

@ Meisel

I agree with the point you made about students needing to not get too comfortable. I have learned this myself with issues I have had with math. I never had an interest in math but soon associated with those older than me that had a passion for math and all of a sudden my skills in math began to increase. My friend who is from Israel learned to speak spanish fluently once he switched his television programs to spanish and learned the language that way. Personally I learned to read in a quicker fashion because my mother muted the television and put it on subtitles and if I wanted the treat of being able to watch my favorite program, I had to be able to read the words in order to know what was going on. Learning occurs at home and within in the classroom. Coming back to your last point; yes, we must always push ourselves and get up and keep moving before or at the very least when we reach a moment of comfort.

atRifF said...

Could it be prejudice from the educational system itself?

Interesting point, Shelley. But now this is the question. Is prejudice enough to stagnate the life of a child with good familial support?

Meisel, you suggest that certain cultural habits can be a problem. But where do you draw the line? Culture is also a source of enrichment and support.

Shelley Reeder said...

@ Professor Triff,

I think with enough familial support a child can go very far. The amount the child needs in order to be able to withstand things like prejudice all depends on the child. What is unique and wonderful about this world is that we are all different and require different things for our learning journey.

Marcel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcel said...

I think that all parents in their own sanity push their children to study, however the toughness of some and the softness of others is what it makes the difference in their academic performance.

The most important step in any kid future academic success is found in high school. Here is when they start making decisions on what they want and don't want to do with their futures, and here's when depending on the type of parent the outcome is different.

The question arise, how far dad and mom are decided to go to make their kids strive for academic achievements? Certain rules need to be strictly carried out by those parents, and I think that as tougher the rules are as greater is the importance which the parents give to their kid's education.

Again, as parents, how much would they compromise to make their kid get the desired results? The relation is directly proportional.

Shelley Reeder said...

@ Marcel,

I also believe that high school is very important; however, the foundation prior to the high school years are just as important if not more. The years where the student starts developing a sense of self are also important. The guidance from parents and teachers must be there from the beginning. Yes, the type of parenting all depends on the parents and the needs of the child. I believe also that there should be firm guidelines or "rules" in place; however, the rules should not be carried out with a hard iron fist that is so heavy that the child cracks under the pressure. The learning environment should be one that is nurturing while fueling that childs need for learning.

Marcel said...

Shelley,

the foundation prior to the high school years are just as important if not more.

I understand your point, and agree with you up to that part in which you say if not more.

I have read articles in which authors argue about the natural disposition of a child to learn. These authors talk about two dispositions: intellectual disposition and academic disposition. The first one is the observable phenomena that the kid notices and ask questions about it, the latter is the formal instruction at school. Well, I think you referred to the first one when you talk about prior years to high school--in a more general view--because at this point I think that the data, and please correct me, all kids whether latino, black or white, all roughly share same academic results (prior to high school).

I think it makes sense that in high school all this problem comes up, and not in middle school, because those kids grow rebel and make up their minds, start up having boy/girlfriends, wanting a car, and getting their own personality. Well, here is when the iron fist comes up :-) and again, I believe that their instruction in middle school is not a factor in their later academic achievements, because besides to all what I have stated, there are so many new changes in these teenagers that it's like stepping in a whole different ground once they get in high school years.

Shelley Reeder said...

@ Marcel,

The reason why I believe the time prior to high school is crucial is because the human brain has just been mapped out around age three. We must take on education with children at an early age to secure their future. You are right about middle school, I believe as long as a student generally stays the course in middle school that they will be fine by the time they reach high school.My only point is the student must have help and guidance prior to the middle school years. Yes, I agree with you that it is important to have guidance in high school because it truly is a whole new world. To wrap things up my basic belief is that for a child to be able to stand strong in their education they must have a strong and secure foundation. This is why I believe that work must begin on that foundation at or around age three when the brain is fully ready.

Anonymous said...

(2/2) Ben Tobin

While examining the chart, a quick thought popped into my head. Do we need these statistics? Do we need students to drop out? I was raised to believe that if you do not go to school, you work at Burger King the rest of your life. Working at Burger King is a respectable job. Do you work hard? (Well I guess I can only say maybe, because I have never worked at Burger King). Are you contributing to society? Hell yea. Society needs people to work in fast food restaurants in order to sustain. Is the job a lucrative one? Maybe not. Can it potentially be a lucrative job? Maybe.

Another question that came to mind... Is there a difference between what cultures/races holds up above their heads as the holy grail of life? And if it does differ? What are they?

The study of Datnow & Cooper states that "This lack of preparation often stems from the limited resources and lower expectations that characterize the schools they previously attended." There is a small part of your answer right there.

After that, Datnow & Cooper reveal that classmates of African American students believe that African American's have "limited intellectual capabilities". Whether or not they choose to believe it, whether or not it is conscious or unconscious, I believe that this, some way or another, makes them racist. And perhaps without knowing, they treat African American's differently. Maybe they choose not to be with them during group projects. And who is to blame for that one? American history and the use of slavery? Parenting? Or just kids being kids?

In short, I believe there are many areas to look at when examining the shortcoming's in our societies education. I believe that school systems are to be looked at. But where do they get the money to improve? Are our tax dollars being wasted in other areas and not focused on the templates for future America? Are families raising children in crime-polluted neighborhoods? Well where are the police? Are parents not raising their children to focus on education?

Anonymous said...

(Page 1 of 2) Ben Tobin

In the first sentence, Huffington Post states that "Despite the hope that improving education for children of color..." My question is how? How did they "improve education"? I believe that to be a vague statement and would like to know exactly how.

The second sentences expresses that progress has been made in elementary and middle school programs but depletes in high school. What is happening there? Is there a change in the process of "improving education"for high school students? I'm sure that both, the schools and the students have responsibility to claim in this area. But find out what is happening here.

From my personal experience, high school was the most challenging time in my life. I was experiencing pressure from every angle. Pressure from the parents, in order to maintain good grades and to take the next correct step in my life. Pressure from my friends and other peers to fit in and be cool. Pressure from my high school to act "accordingly" and be a productive member of society. This was no easy task for me. I believe that the maximum amount of nurturing, mentoring, guidance, positive-reassurance, and over-all care must be giving to a child during their high school years.

In the last sentence posted by Huffington Post, it states that their findings are "On average". This means that some African-American and Latino high school seniors scored higher and some lower (than the average). I believe they should explore the difference between the two and see what the higher scoring student was doing that the lower scoring student was not. Now, I use the word "doing". This includes everything from school, social-life, family-life, and everything in between.

Family influence is a huge part of what makes me the individual I am today. I am blessed to have a great family. Perhaps this may influence a bias, but I believe that family influence plays a large role in this topic. My family is the one who taught me the difference between right and wrong. My family is the one who cares for me unconditionally. You can make many choices in life, but one choice you cannot make, is choosing your blood family.

Anonymous said...

@professor triff
from meisel

Professor , it isn't where we draw the line , it is more about where we see the result of the performance has increased . It is natural to believe that we as latinos are being discriminated just because our lack of education , but it isnt so. If we were to prove others our ppotential and not how the lack of interest in school most of us have then we could say other wise. Bottom line , it is a matter of dedication and hungryness . If you are hungry for a good future then you will sacrafice yourself in order to have great educational performance.

Hafsa Hussain said...

Though it’s most likely a combination of the listed factors, I believe the most prevalent one would have to be values. Minority students, particularly Blacks and Hispanics, do not receive proper parental guidance. To begin with, statistics show that minorities do not have the typical American "nuclear family". Many have unmarried or divorced parents, sibling(s) in jail, etc. This is likely to cause dysfunction not only for the children growing up but also those who are to be guiding them as well. This leads them to have a lack of moral guidance. It is likely that there is a causal relationship between the divorce rates of Asians versus that of Hispanics/Blacks and the dropout rates of Asian students versus Blacks/Hispanics, as the rates of divorce for Asians are less compared to those of Hispanics and Blacks (source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/12/divorce-rate-by-race-and-_n_805580.html#s220304&title=Asian_49). A family that is more typical is likely to provide more support; for example, it doesn’t rest only on one parent to give guidance to a child but both, yet single/divorced parents face the dilemma of having an imbalance since it rests solely on one parent.

This leads to the child developing the wrong values, therefore not putting education as a priority. A student who has been taught the right values, for example, will go above and beyond, even if he/she is not receiving proper instruction at school. The student is more likely to seek out help and look for outside resources to obtain an understanding of course material. However, a student with a lack of these values will put education aside to begin with and when he/she struggles, will give up and abandon it altogether.

Arlene McPhee said...

Fundamental values for success begins in the home. In my opinion, beliefs, life habits, dreams and sense of accomplishment begins and is engrained at an early age. Regardless of socioeconomic status, if parents put forth the energy and resources into their children’s future, there is a higher chance of the child being successful in life. I firmly believe the deterioration of the family unit and absentee parents begins the cycle of irresponsible individuals and contributes to the majority of the educational problems America faces today. Time, one of life’s most valuable resources should be invested in our children for they are the adults and leaders of tomorrow.

Joshua Jimenez said...

Yes, Arlene, this is what people tell you when you are graduating: All your dreams can be true and so forth; and a vast repertoire of nice words to make you feel confident before and after the ceremony. But the reality is quite different. This is an unsolvable problem with a long tradition of speculations and fears. One cannot compare the expectations of a poor kid in a ghetto with the expectations of a kid from a nice posh-suburb. The latter one would be more “realistic.” These schools in poor zones lack of integrity and professionalism. The whole system throughout decades has not done enough to provide a better education in those places; the worst part is that the ghettos and different poor zones of America have a developed a whole new decadent culture. A man that lives cool in ignorance.

A society that fears to improve their lives, because they have been discouraged from the cradle. They watch television and see a complete distinct society than yours. High birth rates and domestic violence are only two of the most common outcomes of this rotten structure. But of course generalise is always mistake. There are some exceptions of success, some “outliers” that make us believe everything is possible in life. And indubitably yes, but here the question is not about if we are able to succeed in life or not, the question is “What can we do to change this situation?”

And the government is responsible for its policies and inadequacy at the hour of draw up a plan. Free will is a nice concept to grasp in our minds, but when a person is doomed to live among thieves and vagrants the probabilities to become a professional are almost impossible. People are still in love with this idea of yes we can, or no matter where you live, it is more important where are you going, and bla bla bla… it is not enough when your pockets are empty. It is not enough when you study in an environment where nobody cares about anything. Tell me what this “outliers” do when they succeed, do they stay in their ghettos?… Of course not, they want to improve their lives, they want their children in good schools.

It’s terribly unfair for Afro-Americans and Latinos to live in such conditions. People talk how well Latinos do in schools when they come here. Because they come with different minds, with a different flavour of the world. And they strife, but most of them sink in their struggle, once they have taken a look of their surroundings.
Those values are an integral part of society, values that each day disappear in the automatic methodology of public schools, particularly in ghettos.
This is De facto discrimination.

If we don’t demand a solution from the authorities, well, let’s move to a nicer neighbourhood.

Joshua Jimenez said...

Yes, Arlene, this is what people tell you when you are graduating: All your dreams can be true and so forth; and a vast repertoire of nice words to make you feel confident before and after the ceremony. But the reality is quite different. This is an unsolvable problem with a long tradition of speculations and fears. One cannot compare the expectations of a poor kid in a ghetto with the expectations of a kid from a nice posh-suburb. The latter one would be more “realistic.” These schools in poor zones lack of integrity and professionalism. The whole system throughout decades has not done enough to provide a better education in those places; the worst part is that the ghettos and different poor zones of America have a developed a whole new decadent culture. A man that lives cool in ignorance.

A society that fears to improve their lives, because they have been discouraged from the cradle. They watch television and see a complete distinct society than yours. High birth rates and domestic violence are only two of the most common outcomes of this rotten structure. But of course generalise is always mistake. There are some exceptions of success, some “outliers” that make us believe everything is possible in life. And indubitably yes, but here the question is not about if we are able to succeed in life or not, the question is “What can we do to change this situation?”

And the government is responsible for its policies and inadequacy at the hour of draw up a plan. Free will is a nice concept to grasp in our minds, but when a person is doomed to live among thieves and vagrants the probabilities to become a professional are almost impossible. People are still in love with this idea of yes we can, or no matter where you live, it is more important where are you going, and bla bla bla… it is not enough when your pockets are empty. It is not enough when you study in an environment where nobody cares about anything. Tell me what this “outliers” do when they succeed, do they stay in their ghettos?… Of course not, they want to improve their lives, they want their children in good schools.

It’s terribly unfair for Afro-Americans and Latinos to live in such conditions. People talk how well Latinos do in schools when they come here. Because they come with different minds, with a different flavour of the world. And they strife, but most of them sink in their struggle, once they have taken a look of their surroundings.
Those values are an integral part of society, values that each day disappear in the automatic methodology of public schools, particularly in ghettos.
This is De facto discrimination.

If we don’t demand a solution from the authorities, well, let’s move to a nicer neighbourhood.

Alex Yagudaev said...

One of the biggest issues I see here in this educational gap is surroundings. I strongly feel that a person's surroundings can greatly influence his behavior in life. Besides surroundings you can also add in limited resources. My first year in high school was at Miami Northwestern I remember walking into the class and feeling a completely different feel of what a normal school should feel like. We were limited on resources for one, every student would share a book in class, the teachers you could say were not the greatest. Speaking about the teachers, they would just come in and assign some busy work. There would only be a handful that would actually try and reach out to the students. Now when it comes to surroundings it doesn't matter if your black, white, hispanic, or asian. If you are in a bad environment chances are most likely your not going to break out of that shell. Which leads to my next point stereotyping a persons race with levels in education is absurd because resources and surroundings play a great role. Most of the students parents have two jobs and are rarely home causing them not to be as active in their child's academic career. Next we have the issue of the impoverished area being a great place for illicit activities which influence a child's life in an insatiable hunger for fast money. Will the problem ever corrected? To be honest I really doubt it would , because unfortunately we live in a world today that is far more independent than what it was years ago. Meaning that we don't spend time with our parents to learn from their mistakes or to direct our kids in the right way.

Alex Yagudaev said...

One of the biggest issues I see here in this educational gap is surroundings. I strongly feel that a person's surroundings can greatly influence his behavior in life. Besides surroundings you can also add in limited resources. My first year in high school was at Miami Northwestern I remember walking into the class and feeling a completely different feel of what a normal school should feel like. We were limited on resources for one, every student would share a book in class, the teachers you could say were not the greatest. Speaking about the teachers, they would just come in and assign some busy work. There would only be a handful that would actually try and reach out to the students. Now when it comes to surroundings it doesn't matter if your black, white, hispanic, or asian. If you are in a bad environment chances are most likely your not going to break out of that shell. Which leads to my next point stereotyping a persons race with levels in education is absurd because resources and surroundings play a great role. Most of the students parents have two jobs and are rarely home causing them not to be as active in their child's academic career. Next we have the issue of the impoverished area being a great place for illicit activities which influence a child's life in an insatiable hunger for fast money. Will the problem ever corrected? To be honest I really doubt it would , because unfortunately we live in a world today that is far more independent than what it was years ago. Meaning that we don't spend time with our parents to learn from their mistakes or to direct our kids in the right way.

Mike said...

1. Problems at home

Parents are not doing their job in raising their children for many reasons. Some might have three jobs just to get by creating an environment where the child is simply left to handle things on his own without any parental supervision and as long as grades are ok the parent will not pursue to care about anything within the child’s life. Flip the coin and you have others sitting at home collecting a pay check and simply don’t care about the child from the beginning because the entire plan was to live off the system and furthermore enslave the children to handle tasks that the parents should be taking care of. Family matters might also prevent children from going to school or keep their concentration at home versus their studies causing a psychological blockade for any form of learning to take place even after all the right tools have been presented towards the child. Peer pressure between children in the community is also high, and more primitive instincts take place which in return causes bullying, fights, etc in schools and local communities and possibly a premature version of gangs between friends.


2. Poor educational system standards

In Florida specifically we all know how dreadfully disgusting the FCAT is and it only makes matters worse because actual learning time is replaced with procedures towards passing the FCAT. Before I left high school this has been a major factor taking away from my academic math and reading classes for exam study time. In the long run I learned more about passing a test than learning anything about math or reading as I should in order to get into college. After all the state only cares about statistics and the more people who pass this exam the better they look masking the bigger dilemma behind it all. Teachers also are partly to blame for the inappropriate class assignment schedules and cramming of knowledge that needs to be taught with more time in earlier grades. Schools are also swamped with more disciplinary action thanks to parents not doing what they are suppose too giving a dual task towards public schools of disciplining students and also teaching them at the same time.

3. Culture and Economy

Naturally the poor habits some parents bring from other cultures are incompatible with certain American disciplines. Time is extremely important here but this does not seem to matter much for the Latino community were on time is between 15-30 minutes late as one example. Another key factor is that education in some countries are worse than that of the United States or some never received an education at all and simply do not understand the meaning of meeting deadlines. Anyone who isn’t blind can actually see this type of behavior in some students and is a direct reflection of their parents.

In economic matters though some have arrived here illegally and although born American citizens, the parents also push a child towards work versus education first so they can help out with expenses because his or her parents are barely scratching by through illegal labor. Although this isn’t everyone it is a good representation of what I have personally seen in Miami.

In conclusion I have seen that most root problems mostly rely on parents, but the educational system only makes matters worse with its own issues and finally that sometimes finances are more important than education and because work provides income the materialized proof of work is given to you in the form of currency every month vs. education which is considered more of an investment. Cultural matters can have a role but I think the effects are minimal but not to be ignored.

Arlene Mcphee said...

Joshua, you made good points, however, as an Optimist, and resolute believer that everyone was the propensity for greatness no matter what their origin, if they want it bad enough. For my poor uneducated, haitian mother, the idea and belief of "yes we can" was infectious as it got her whole family educated with two Ivy Leaguers. Knowledge of what my parents and ancestors went through to get our family where they are today will not allow me to blame society, nor the government for my success or failures. As a retired military service member (22 yrs) I stand by my mantra "Be all you can Be"...all the time, in all situations.Before we blame the government, the teachers and society lets be honest...what are we doing to help ourselves? Are we being all we can be, everyday, to ourselves, our families, our children, our communities?

Anonymous said...

Andrew Herrera

In the article I have read, it is truly heartbreaking that after years of fighting for equality in the educational system for minority students, we are still lacking in achieving academic supremacy for not only minority students, but for all students in the system. The dropout rate for Hispanic students is far greater than compared with whites, African Americans, Asians, and Native American groups over a 30- year period. What could be the problem found in educational inequality is the scholastic values that have diminished over the course of time. We are also faced with the potential discrimination some students face when trying to perform their work, how the economy has damaged school funding and social status. Miami can be an example of how minority students might feel the pressure.
The scholastic values taught in our school system in Miami and the state of Florida has placed too much emphasis on the standardized FCAT test. High School students are required to pass their 10th grade exam or otherwise they will not be graduating. Teachers expect less from the minority to perform well on the exam which arguably can be geared towards the majority. What system can do is actually not to place so much attention on the exam and actually teach the kids about the subject. Some teachers can be racist towards minorities in grading assignments. For example, a teacher can be grading an art project. He or she can be White and can give one student an A-. While looking at another students work, the student can be of any other ethnic background and the teacher gives the student a D+. This type of injustice can make the person insecure about the work they might do, feeling hopeless, the student flat out gives up and withdraws from the school, with his or her dreams crushed.
Economy and school has have been fraught with turmoil. The economic downturn of 2008-2009 has meant budget cuts across the board. Teachers being laid off like no tomorrow, therefore limiting educational output and scholastic enrichment for our youth. Plus with the tie-in with the FCAT only seems to make matters worse. An “A” school like my alma mater of Miami Beach Senior for example would get funding for our programs, but a high school such as Miami Edison Senior High, a school that might recently got a “C” would still limited funding for resources in teaching our youth. The politicians are also to blame, with making decisions that hurt the education system by wasting our tax dollars on pointless materialistic obscenities (The Miami Marlins Stadium).
The solution is clear, we need to invest in our education, invest in outreach programs that cater to the minority instead of some erroneous ball park. That’s what we need use our tax money for, youth programs for after school to help minorities. We can also use the money to create workshops for parents to help them be more involved their kids’ studies. Scholarships that can help low income families to help their kids go to college.
Race is arbitrary. We need to focus on the future of our kids, so that way, life can be just a little better to live.

-

SEAN BOISSELLE said...

According to the APA, African American children are three times more likely to live in poverty than Caucasians. Likewise, hispanics are also more likely to live in poverty than Caucasians and Asians. In addition, and perhaps most important to our topic of discussion, is the fact that African American and Latinos are more likely to attend high-poverty schools than Asian Americans and Caucasians. 

Therefore, we could state that blacks and latinos have a higher chance of both living in poverty and attending high-poverty schools. But there are many examples of poor people attaining academic success, so this poverty alone is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for lower academic performance. Next, we might look at a person’s family. Suppose there is a child living in the middle of an urban environment. His father is in jail for some crime related to growing up in poverty, and his mother is suffering from alcoholism and drug abuse. This child may have no more immediate support network than the streets. And the streets culture is enticing; Full of glamour, illusory power, and claims to fortune. It isn’t hard for a young child to find support with gun-toting, reckless criminals in a poverty-stricken environment. This implants a disdain for legitimate avenues of earning money in favor of easy, fast-track, and, many times, illegal methods of earning money.

And when he goes to school, he finds that he has to put in far too much work, and even after all that work he might still have to start from the bottom and work his way up. So, it is a logical thing to do, in his situation and despite the risk, to sell drugs. It pays off a lot quicker. Tax-free, and you don’t have to yield to authority either. You are your own boss. There’s a lot of stimulus in that fact alone. So because of this, the child may feel that school is a waste of time, and not try to educate himself, and therefore he will suffer from poorer grades. This is just one example in a mountain of possibilities.

The age of 13 is an age where a child starts to become a lot more self-aware, and they are also starting to look more and more for a social sense of belonging. There are a whole slew of factors in play. Suppose a child, who is searching for his identity, is being bullied because of his ethnic background. He doesn’t want to let anyone trample on him, so he gets into a fight at school and gets suspended. He misses two weeks of foundational classwork and teacher interaction. This is a travesty to education, and it is pervasive. There should be some sort of system in place where this child can still get the teacher interaction he needs at this crucial point in his life.

In addition to missing his classwork, his parents at home are chastising him and punishing him for his suspension, for which the administration is partially to blame. This could lead to feelings of frustration. While he is searching for acceptance and sense of self, he is at the same time being barraged by verbal, psychological, and possibly physical attacks from people he is supposed to trust and look to for guidance. This could also lead to poorer performance. But this situation is not exclusive to blacks and latinos.

SEAN BOISSELLE (Continued) said...

Another factor that could come into play is a societal factor. Black people have only attained their so-called civil rights 50 years ago, and their freedom from beasthood only 150 years ago. Who was it enslaving them? Mostly whites. Latinos could possibly have a genetic memory of their race being infiltrated by europeans, and the biggest genocide in history carried out upon them. If they do not have a genetic memory of this, they certainly have a historical memory of it. Here I do group Native Americans in the group of Latinos, since South, Central, and North America were once sovereign and existed apart from external empirical rule, and North America was and is not the only portion of the americas which was subjugated or conquered.

So we have an entire social system set up to which blacks and latinos are not indigenous. Blacks, many of them, were imported. Latinos were conquered and subjugated. This is an environment forced upon their ancestors under threat of torture and death. Subjugated by european legal systems and codes of behavior, they could definitely feel isolated, and unmotivated to achieve the sort of success that this society deems “success.”

Cultural values could have a play in lower education performance as well. The bigger culture is not always compatible with its subcultures. If you grow up in a family that stresses other things rather than education, you are not as likely to study hard and strive for an education.

Alas, in the words of Albert Einstein, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

Thus, I believe that the issue rests at the very core of our society. The fabric of this civilization needs some major remodeling. Many of us are thinking it, but few put that thought into words. The basic foundation on which our society is built, was built many years ago, before any of us were born. We are living in someone else’s creation, not our own, and many of us esteem ourselves to be creative, to be independent, to be thinkers. Any apparent “renovations” done, i.e. buildings, roads, and the like, are just that, apparent. How beautiful is the city? Most of them, not so much. From far away, many look nice, but when you get into them and walk around, they are full of pollution, potholes, loud construction crews, beggars, etc. And then you have the country, most of the nice, pristine land is bought up. If you were not born into it, it takes a lot of struggle to attain. Not that there is any problem with struggle. Every man and woman must work. But what kind of society is this really? A society that neglects a big portion of its people? A society that values the dollar more than it values the person?

For any real, lasting change to occur, there must be a fundamental shift. On a large scale, people must consciously realize that the system in which they are living is consuming them, and resources need to be allocated, regardless of “economic considerations.” Our prime consideration should be for the health, success, and welfare of every person in this society. As long as one person is being dragged behind, they are dragging all the others behind as well. I would like to see those test scores in a society that uses education not as a doorway to economic success, but as a doorway to societal success. Not as a doorway to one man holding more gold, but as a doorway to every man having more than they can hold.

Anonymous said...

There are many factors that play a role on academic achievement. Some may be more important than others. I believe that family and home educations in the one of the biggest. Family is the first source of education that a child have. Since children reach one or two years and are learning to talk, they are only going to repeat what they hear. This is the very beginning of education. Children repeat what they see. If all they hear is swear words, then that is going to be the way to communicate. If all they see is abuse, then that is going to be their way to express. On the other hand, if a child see sacrifice and hard work, he is most likely to mirror those behaviors. You can tell a child to do hard work in school, but is what they see are their parents in front of the TV living from the government, then that message is empty for them. This country is full of opportunities, and we are MDC are clear examples of that. Most of the students on this very same class are first or second generations of immigrants, and we are trying to make a future for ourselves.
Elizabeth Diaz Aguero

Anonymous said...

Anonymous
Osmin Roques said...

Professor Triff, I believe all the elements listed on the comment are part of the problem but the economic factor plays I think the biggest component in this issue. Every time you listen to NPR on wednesday afternoon the problem of funding for the schools programs comes up and is a constant problem that limits what the school system can do.

Money should not be a factor affecting any minority for been able to recieved a good education. As kids grow older parents may not be able to dedicate more time to interact in school activities and keep closer contact with the teachers since in many families both parents have to work odd hours to be able to pay bills and the expenses of raising a family. I believe that once the child has reached the High school level the parent must be even more involve because due to our changing society kids could go stray if we do not keep an eye on their progress.

The issued of deficient teaching, once again economics the school system should have
the resources necessary to be able to prepare the teachers in their particular field to
reach their full potential. Once the teacher is out in the schools give him or her incentives and make them feel appreciated. That a school is located in a bad or poor
neighborhood should not be a reason a child does not recieve a good education. The
government needs to find a way in conjuction with the school system of providing a more complete and valuable teaching to all kids.

I do not have a good answer on how to fix this problem but I think we should not
throw in the towel and that a solution is possible.

Alfredo Triff said...

tx meisel. nice exchange marcel, shelley.

good point, ben. is high school not a more difficult theater of operations?

guys remember am closing this tonight at 11.

Alfredo Triff said...

Black people have only attained their so-called civil rights 50 years ago, and their freedom from beasthood only 150 years ago. Who was it enslaving them? Mostly whites. Latinos could possibly have a genetic memory of their race being infiltrated by europeans, and the biggest genocide in history carried out upon them...

true, sean but then, is the trauma of this historic heritage irreversible?

SEAN BOISSELLE (Continued) said...

@ Triff,

That statement was in support of my next statement that Latinos and blacks are living in a political and social system that was created by the people that conquered their ancestors. They had a rich, diverse culture which was snuffed out and of which only remnants today remain. No, I don't think the trauma is irreversible. But can you deny that it is there? And I am not necessarily talking about a trauma, but rather an inner battle of ideals. Cultural ideals. It is a matter of a subculture living within a main culture which might have conflicting values with that subculture. There have been great strides in racial awareness, but the concern is that cultural values can be carried across generations. The child picks up certain cultural cues from their parents, who picked it up from their parents, and on and on. These cultural ideals could affect a child's desire to learn and/or grow, depending on what those ideals are. Education may or may not be on the list of those passed-down ideals, and this in turn could help to factor whether a child decides to put in effort in their studies or not.

On a side note, I think that spanish soap operas are also heavily contributing to a decline in intelligence. My proof for this is that whenever my mother-in-law is watching spanish soap operas while I am in the room, I literally feel my brains leaking from my ears. This could also be a factor in decreased educational performance in households where parents watch Spanish TV.

Anonymous said...

Most underprivileged neighborhoods are comprised of Latino and black families. I believe that where you come from has a lot of influence on where you are going. Kids grow up in harder environments when they are poor. Their designated school is stuffed with other kids who are also in their same economic status. Some grow up seeing poverty and get accustomed to it seeing no way out, while others don’t have a choice by being forced to help out their families through their struggles. Families who are not well off financially don’t have the opportunity to give all their attention to the kids, unfortunately the kids take on some of the adult responsibilities. For example, they don’t get a stay at home parent to give them attention, they have to cook for themselves, do chores, and help out their families as much as possible. In high school kids are old enough to work. Some of them are forced to work for their families, and others work for their own benefit, in the long run once the money starts coming in working becomes a higher priority than high school.
Another thing about being raised in an underprivileged neighborhood is that the schools in the area are not going to be giving the best education. All these kids are growing up not being challenged academically and not being shown the great possibilities of where good education can take them. I think the schools should take it upon themselves to make sure their students are all succeeding like they should. It is accustomed to speak to a parent if a student is not doing as they should, but what if these parents are too busy working and dealing with other things? Instead of detention for disruption, there should be a mandatory study block after school. Whenever a student didn’t complete their homework or if they failed an exam, then they should be obligated to attend study sessions after school where they can get homework help and support. This is what we are not doing today. Today we rely on parents to be the ones to teach their kids but that is a problem because a lot of parents do not have time, especially when they have to work two to three jobs to live.
There is definitely a problem here. There is no doubt that Latino and African American students can all succeed just as well or even better than whites or any other race or ethnicity in the world. If schools are not the problem, then their home life needs to be changed and perhaps it would be a good idea as I said earlier to implement a program to make sure that all students are putting time and effort into their studies. We must also make sure that schools in all neighborhoods are challenging their students no matter their backgrounds.
-Natalie Mecklenburg

Frantz Cayo said...

In my opinion,there are a few things we can do to close the gap between children of color and white children when it comes to academic performance in this country.First, the federal government and local government need to pour more money in education, specially in poor neighborhoods.Those children are more vulnerable compare to their counterparts living in another demographic area.
Also, we need to provide them more access to the new technology and all the ressources necessary to compete in the twenty-first century.

Since children of color are most likely to be raised in a single family home, with an uneducated parent, they are most likely not getting the help that they need to complete what they have learned in the classroom.Also, there is a financial reason that contribute to the low academic performance of children of color.most of the time the parents have to work long hours for them to provide for their children.Hence,those children spend a lot of time procastinating.In order to solve this problem, we need to make after school program mandatory startind at Elementary School.

Moreover, we need to bring good teachers into the classroom and give them more incentives to teach in minority schools.Due to a fact there is a fast growing population among blacks and latinos students,we need to reduce the class sizes and build new schools in their neighborhoods.By doing so ,the student will pay more attention to what is being taught in class.

To finish, we can stop this academic performance inequality among students from different backgraound by doing a few things like:allocating more ressources for disadventage students, reducing class sizes, giving good teachers more incentives to teach in minority schools,and so on.

SEAN BOISSELLE (again) said...

@ Professor Triff

And yes, i do believe that all the factors I have mentioned can be overcome by hard work and determination. Setting your mind to a goal and sticking to it, and when you fail, continuing to stick to it. Never giving up, it is a relentless task, a long tunnel with a bright light in far view. But it is possible.

Some of the factors I have listed are just that - only some of the many factors which could come into play. The question is, if I am not mistaken, "Why are Latinos and Black High School Seniors performing at the level of 8th grade Whites?" And ultimately, for any definite and conclusive solution to this question to be presented, we need much more circumstantial evidence on an individual basis. For now, all we can do is philosophize, so that we can carry out more experiments to figure it out. And this is why I mentioned the Einstein quote, of having to look at the problem from a view higher than the view it was created on. So what I am saying, and very idealistically so, if we are getting such large numbers of cases of people coming short of expected behavior, there must be a societal component heretofore unidentified, or at least under analyzed. For a solution to this, it might be necessary to look outside of the society box and start to change things on a more basic societal level. I am talking an overhaul in food production and distribution, land use, economics, transportation methods, etc. Utopian idealism at its finest :D

Maria Ortiz said...

In my opinion, many factors can contribute to this problematic gap. I believe the most influential factor is family disintegration. Family is the most important social institution. Through our family we begin to learn values, norms, attitudes, etc. Now, many Black, Latinos parents are not able to spend much time with their children since their early years because they are busy working trying to give them a better economic life or many of them are single parents and it makes them difficult for them to be in top of their children’s academic performance. If a child, its not encourage to go to school or simply his not told to do his homework, he or she would prefer to play or do something else rather than sleep. In my opinion, parents should encourage their children to go to school , motivate them to get a better job than theirs.

Maria Pia Blanc said...

The fact that African Americans and Latinos high school seniors perform math and read at the same level as thirteen year old white students is shocking and alarming. I do believe that there are many different factors causing this problematic gap, and it is not necessarily that students from minority lack any intellectual capability. I think that the lack of preparation of these students is related with the limited resources they face, the lower expectations that usually characterize high schools they attend and the distorted values at home. The mix of some or all of these problems is exactly what it is reflecting the huge gap between students. For example it is not the same for a student that has all the necessary resources such as social, economic and emotional support at their fingertips than for a student that lacks any of these factors and is struggling to cover the most necessary things just to do average in any aspects of their life. I am mentioning this because according to studies African Americans and Latinos have fewer economic resources than whites; and of course this is a cycle because that is related with educational achievement. Chances are that the most education we get the better opportunities we will get throughout our lives. Furthermore for immigrants is much more difficult to achieve everything because we get to the point that we are living a multicultural life and sometimes our values are totally different and rearranged as part of this process of becoming part of another culture. Also another thing that bothers me a lot is the lack of support at home. For example some parents just don’t care about their child academic achievement and for them is not even a priority; they rather the kid to be working and bringing some extra cash home than being at school. This example I just mentioned above is very typical in African Americans and Latinos like me, when we finish high school we start working and forget that college is next and usually that doesn’t happen very often in whites, because for them education is a priority. I am aware that parents from minority sometimes don’t have the time to spend with their children and support them enough throughout their learning process, because they have a bigger challenge which is to provide them with the basic things at home every single day, but still I believe they have to be involved. It‘s their duty as parents to monitor and support their kids development at school. I would like to conclude this discussion by saying that this is reversible and we can change this. Money can easy be taking away from us but education is a tool that nobody can take away from us. So now is up to us!

Anonymous said...

Edmunds Bernard

I agree with many of my classmates on some of the issues and I have to say “ It takes a village” As a community we are becoming antisocial, our noses are deep into our smart phones allowing us to become plastic. Meaning, education has never been about and institution, a government, economics or a home environment, exclusively. We as a community need to be involved—Actors, Rappers, Singers, dancers and Elected officials. We are all responsible for our people not achieving all that they can. As we write these blogs we do not know half our classmates names. We rather stick our nose in our smart phones and live in our own manufactured worlds. The root problem is communication! We have a million devices that can even scratch your ass for you, where is the human element that makes it “real” whether by our senses or our innate ability for connection. I propose that, like in some countries where the citizens must do a year in the armed forces, we should spend a year before/after college working in schools. Children tend to relate to people closer to their own age. In addition we can learn so much from others and their experiences. Imagine 13000 students graduated from Miami Dade alone on April 28 of this year if every graduate in the nation to part in educating the nation what kind of nation we would be. Yes our problem with education is a wow! Disparity, racism, economic divides, technological divides, nutrition and spiritual nourishment are all elements issues that are keeping us from achieving our maximum but the biggest issue of all is us.

Jocelyn said...

It is unfortunate to see rising numbers in drop outs among African American and Latino students and I think that there are multiple reasons for this problematic gap. It is a combination of insufficient resources for schools, inadequate teachers, and parents lack of involvement.

Most communities where the majority of people are either African American or Latino face the unfortunate disadvantage of less resources provided to them by the government. With the economy such distress, budget cuts are part of the solution but, cutting back funding in education is the biggest error our government can commit. These schools face the troubles of trying to teach and educate children without the basic tools and supplies needed. Children know and notice this and it impacts their motivation and will to go to school and learn. If there was more equality in the distribution of money towards school disregarding social class and race these children would probably perform better academically. Another evident problem with this educational gap are the teachers whom are teaching in prominent low income neighborhoods. Teachers find more prestige teaching in a more academically proclaimed school than a lower performing school located in the ghetto. Many teachers who do teach in poor performing schools in the ghetto are not adequately prepared and lack teaching skills. They probably don’t feel the urge to go above and beyond to prepare the students since they already feel the students are uninterested and misconducted. In order to motivate a child to learn a teacher must make it apparent that they are passionate for teaching and available for help. Sometimes a student needs a teacher or a staff member to talk to them, advice them, and encourage them with their goals.

Jocelyn said...

The biggest and most prominent factor to the rising number of drop out rates amongst Latinos and African American students are the parents. Their amount of involvement and implications of values and morals differs amongst the two races but most definitely contribute to their academic success. Unfortunately for Latinos especially first generation children, the language becomes an issue. Many Latinos who migrate here to America come with little or no educational background but they’re eager to work to meet their financial needs to survive. Once their children reach school age and begin school they pick the English language and it becomes harder for the parents to help their children in school work because they themselves do not know the language. Many Latino parents work long hours and juggle multiple jobs and for them work and money becomes their priority. It is then that these values are carried on to the children and they also feel the obligation to cooperate and provide financially for their family and so then many young teenagers then drop out of high school to go in search of work. For African Americans it seems like stressful poor environments leads them to drop out in high school. Perhaps no one in their family has any higher education and it is not discussed as a priority because their parents feel like there’s always government help to get by and education is another option. All these problems could be avoided if parents only talked and advised their children but they are too busy with work or really stressed out that they do not want to even talk or see their kids. Education begins at home and parents cannot expect their children to succeed if they do not persist and encourage their children in academics.

To conclude, there are many problems associated with the high numbers of Latinos and African American students drop outs and a solution would be more research should be conducted to uncover what makes a student succeed academically despite social class and ethnic background. Our government should definitely increase the amount of money distributed to schools especially those in low income/poverty communities where African American and Latinos reside. It is extremely important that parents are more involved and interested in their child’s academic success because without support or encouragement children cannot realize their potentials. It is not only the teachers and school staff members responsibility to educate children, it is ultimately the parents duty to do so. I hope children all over the world can one day receive proper education despite insignificant reasons such as social class and race.

Anonymous said...

Lismerys Perea (“Lis”):

For this blog’s purpose I would conclude that the problematic gap, although it could be blamed on a many factors of thing, is primarily linked to the value of which a person is brought up on. Meaning that if a person is taught to value education and is instilled with this idea that they have to make “something with themselves”, it is more likely that the individual will do well in their studies. Even if other hindrances may be part of a person’s life, such as, family disintegrations, distractions from left to right, or personal turmoil, strong values always tend to surface above all other circumstances. If a person knows that those they care about have a high regard to education, they are more likely to have a similar view on it.

As for changing the situation…hm…I think that when it comes to education it really comes down to each individual person. Even if the government keeps adding programs, free libraries are advertised, more tutoring programs are opened, etc., those who want to learn will, and those who don’t, won’t. Which goes to into how I personally view education. I believe that the access to education is a privilege and therefore should be treated as such. When I look at these statistics and alarming number of students that dropout among the Latino and Black minorities I am appalled. There should not be any excuses to why you can't succeed in life. Although I am not blind to the reality that many times minorities may be at a disadvantage compared to other races in education, and sometimes over all quality of life, I still do not find it to be a valid excuse. Any given stumbling block, as difficult as it may be shouldn’t automatically disable a person from overcoming and doing well in their studies, or other areas of their lives for that matter. I am a strong believer of "if there is a will, there is a way". In addition, in the United States anyone who truly has the ambition of doing something, anything, with his or her lives have the opportunity to do it. It may not be easy, but then again one should not have a preconception in life that things are to be easy. At the end of the day is up to the individual to study and work against deterrents and succeed.

Anonymous said...

Proff Triff
I think you were referring to PTSD, post traumatic slavery disorder?
I think it is a very interesting point. Being a first generation American many of my mothers beliefs have caused quite some conflicts in the home she would say things like "thank you white man" at any piece of new technology, and my response was how do you know he was not Indian? As an adult I can see how that would affect my belief in myself and my abilities- not that it stooped me I am a bit hard headed as my mother says
edmunds

Lauren Isern said...

Majority of a students learning is influenced by the environment they are surrounded by. High School is already a difficult time for everyone, and teenagers are just discovering who they are. Students are easily influenced in high school by their peers, and can lead them to not caring about their work in school.

Many Latinos and Blacks have a lower education because of the people they are surrounded by. Usually they are in the "ghetto" and the schools are not the best in these places. Having low income limits many of these teens to be able to experience a better education, and a safer environment to focus in school.

Lauren Isern

Anonymous said...

Annette Alexis .... Since I was fortunate to go to school in Barbados and New York, I am able to comment on my observations. In Barbados there were friendly competitions between the schools; spelling bee, and mathematics competitions that were televised every Saturday. I remembered the smartest kids were chosen to represent the school. We all tried our hardest to be that kid on TV and if not, we had pride in our peers and cheered for them. We were groomed from age 5 to age 11 and our economically status did not matter since we were taught the same thing. We had lessons in the summer to prepare us for the Common Entrance. This was a very important test; it determined what school you were placed in to continue your education. Just think about it all the 11 year old kids at the same time taking a test that will determine their future. Parents were very involved, if your child was accepted into a prestigious secondary school, this hold a certain amount of fame for the family. I remembered being so nervous, could not eat, sweating, and my grandmother telling me to make her proud and I could do it. Being the best football, cricket, field hockey, or netball player did not matter; it was only for recreational activities. The teachers were recognized as being very prestigious, and were respected by the children, parents, and peers. They were well educated and expect the most from you and guide you to fulfill your dreams.
I was very disappointed when I came to New York, the kids that were from the Caribbean that knew the rules and guidelines did not adhere to them. The text books were ten years behind; the teachers were disrespected by the children and parents. The worked that was given I had already reviewed four years prior, however the administration wanted to put me in a lower grade. The teachers were disconnected and overwhelmed, unable to provide the education that was needed. The children were selling drugs in school and attacking the teachers, it was a horrible environment. The security guards that were hired for protection were dated the seniors and selling drugs. I was in disbelief this was American, where the “streets were paved with gold”.
Most of the schools that African Americans and Latino children go to in urban cities are in the ghetto. These kids have to learn as much as they can, especially if they find a teacher that cares; and not trying to punish them for their own disgrace. The books are out dated; the popular kids pick on you especially if you are a nerd. There are no incentives to do better; the parents are working two or three jobs to make ends meet. This is a place where to be cool, is to be stupid and “dummy” down. If you were lucky and your parents used a relative address to go to a better school you had a chance to learn the materials to excel.
The educational gap came to place when the schools are not given the most up to date resources. Is it discrimination? Of course when the budgets of the schools are cut and kids were passing the grades and cannot spell cat. Who cares? This is a history of the ghetto, will it change, only time will tell. In the great schools the parents raise funds by having auctions, in the ghetto what can be auction, a pair of mismatch socks? Your economic status pays a part in education; you live in a great neighborhood you go to the better schools.

marisa said...

Vanessa Cuevas
@Alex Yagudaev

I agree in that a child's surroundings can greatly influence their academic performance. I also agree that
generalizations about any group based on statistics seem absurd. It seems that most, if not all, of the students assessed for these statistics, within both groups, come from the same marginalized backgrounds within those groups and have had comparatively more limited opportunities than other Latinos or African Americans. Also, if a child is not in an environment conductive to
studying, she or he is (generally)more likely not to study. This is why I had study hall for more than three hours a day, Monday through Sunday, at the school where I boarded my last year of high school, which was a 180 degree change from attending Miami Beach Senior High School from 9-11th grade. Then there is the issue of idling. In public schools, so much precious time which students could use constructively is wasted by having them do absolutely nothing, for hours on end. Teacher absentee days and FCAT testing days are perfect examples of this. At Nautilus Middle and Miami Beach Sr High School, for example, I remember teacher absentee days as those in which the classrooms sometimes turned into zoos. Very often, the subtitutes were powerless, sometimes clueless. At the academy where I chose to board during senior year, on the other hand, we spent teacher absentee days in silent study hall for the duration of the class, and the substitutes always saw to it that we were working on classwork or homework, or reading in silence. I think, however,
that self-motivation is also key here. Regardless of
one's socioeconomic or racial background, everyone has the choice to do what
they must, and the opportunities are there. I do notice the difference
of having been raised in academic and social
environments where I was treated as a student and respected as a human being, not seen as a
statistic based on being Latina. Many Latinos and African American students do have limited opportunities offered to them, but that doesn't determine their future; they do. It becomes their responsibility to go out and grab what is not readily available to them. It's also a matter of effort and focus. I always thought, for example, that my proficiency in literature, writing, and history has been due to the fact that I liked those subject areas. I now see that I was just more likely to put greater effort in these than I did in Mathematics, which I found rigid and never enjoyed. The less interest perhaps resulted in my putting in less effort, which, in turn, resulted in that I didn't perform as well in that area. The child's effort is the main issue here, their determination to succeed, but their efforts and wills need to be fostered by their families and their surroundings. It is the families and schools who prepare the child for adult life, and by showing them from an early age that success ultimately lies on their own shoulders, they teach them life-long responsibility and discipline.

Andy Z said...

I my opinion, it should not matter what color you are, black/white/ Hispanic/ other, because it all comes down to what culture you were raised on. The fundamental values starts at home and your achievements are based on your own needs or yet to say wants to succeed. I believe if you do not have a drive for success; then, it does not matter if you are white, black or any other race because you will fail regardless. It is all up to the individual how much he/she wants to succeed. Would social-economic status play the role in your education? Absolutely because that’s when your boundaries of comfort is set, but would this affect your level of achievement? NO. In addition, I say so because you can be rich and lazy and do not have a drive to learn while poor and wanting to learn everything you can, which is well demonstrated in the society by poor people succeeding extremely well such as Oprah Winfrey. Most people tend to criticize the FCAT and that it is a cause of the low number of graduation rate. Personally, it is a joke not the test and all you have to know how to read and to do the basic math; however, as I have witnessed myself students put no effort in taking this test and spend the time sleeping and doing a “Christmas trees” on the scantrons and that’s what they get for it. It is not the government but themselves to be blamed for not putting any efforts in test. The future is in beholders hands.

Tom Stavel said...

I’m new in this country, so I’m not so familiar with racial discrimination, or the problems and performance of minorities in the school system. From my own experience, however, I have many brilliant friends from both Africa and South America. The origin of the minority doesn’t play a key role here. I have also met some really ignorant white people. I believe the reason for underperforming in schools is our family environment. Our home is where we form our habits of study, where we are inspired by our parents and grandparents, and where we learn responsibility and ethics. I have experienced in my own life a wide range of possible outcomes, which depended on the people I met. I believe that this principle applies to every person. Our family is the catalyst of where will we land later in life, regardless of our race. They can inspire us to become what we dream of being and give us the persistence to accomplish our goals, to be a good students and contributing members of society.

Shelley Reeder said...

@ Professor Triff,


Thank you, Professor Triff. I am enjoying the conversations I am able to have on here.

Shelley Reeder

atRifF said...

...but rather an inner battle of ideals. Cultural ideals. It is a matter of a subculture living within a main culture which might have conflicting values with that subculture. There have been great strides in racial awareness, but the concern is that cultural values can be carried across generations.
Interesting point Sean.

And the government is responsible for its policies and inadequacy at the hour of draw up a plan. Free will is a nice concept to grasp in our minds, but when a person is doomed to live among thieves and vagrants the probabilities to become a professional are almost impossible.
So, is there free will after all? If so, how minorities keep dropping at such alarming rate?

I sense that many of you insist in the familial aspect. Granted. It's crucial. Now, how do we change the general perception of people raising families???

Yes Edmunds, thx. There is a conversation to be had about the nature of the trauma from a historic and a psychological perspective.

Nice thread between Alex and Vanessa.