Is the American school system fair? Are schools set up to fail students of color? Why is modern day segregation still so normalized? There is a deep rooted imbalance that has to do with systemic racism taking place in the American school system. This has been long unnoticed, but has been so present in the effects seen in the educational life of so many students. What many fail to realize about the school system is that it’s fundamentally unfair; it was not built to give equal opportunities to all people. It’s not going to be easy for all students to have the career that they want because the system was not made to give that chance to everyone, only those who meet the standards.
There are so many modern day standards that feature racism in this society. These are things that are just commonly connected with being white, and are just unnamed. For example, there are things like career achievement, and “good” or “bad” neighborhoods. We all commonly refer to certain things in a way that describes racial imbalance, but are not acknowledging how there’s real issues that lie beneath that. Racial segregation is not some long gone thing of the past; it continues to stay present to this day, just in different forms. The most important connection between racism and inequality here is climate and circumstance.
When you’re a person of color, you’re often not given education equal to that of a white person. When you’re a person of color who comes from a low income background, you’re not given the same opportunities as a white person from a high income family background. And when you’re a person of color who lives with high crime in a historically Black neighborhood, you’re not given an environment equal to a white person who lives in a nice-low crime neighborhood.
The history of the education system has a connection between who succeeds in it, and who doesn’t. Students of color face so many challenges that affect their career goals and what they imagine they can do with their future. There’s all of these extra challenges that include stress, and financial/emotional/physical barriers to being able to access their education that not all students have to go through. And another problem is that even when students of color have similar environments to white people, the system will still be biased against them. No matter how high income, physically inclined, or high-statused, systemic racism will still always make it easier for a white student to succeed.
The American school system targets certain groups, and has led to educational disparities. The large imbalance is based on things like neighborhoods, race, social status, and others that create an imbalance in schools. It’s a commonly occurring problem that isn’t given enough attention or concern. Students of color tend to be in this cycle of being set up to go to a school in their neighborhood, and with other students in that neighborhood with a similar background. Any school you look at will have this common recurrence of a large lack in diversity. American public schools severely lack diversity, but it’s not just a coincidence. In these majorly separated schools, the students are taught different things: they are taught to dream different futures.
A student of color will often be encouraged that a successful future for them would probably be in a field of entertainment. Actually, they are grown up to have only seen people of color as entertainers, athletes, musicians, and in dance. This is often what the answer of an elementary school student would be. If you asked a student from a whiter and richer neighborhood, who went to a less diverse school, they’d probably answer a higher-paying career like a doctor, lawyer, or police officer. This educational segregation that’s happening, isn’t pushing racism in a good direction. Unequal education is going to continue to push down the opportunities of high-paying jobs and college rates of students of color.
The American school system can see these educational gaps in student outcomes, but isn’t doing enough to prevent students in low-income neighborhoods from getting a good education. It’s clear by the data on graduation rates that students of color are more likely to attend poorly-funded schools. They should be working on trying to improve all schools, and make them more accessible. There have been various attempts at reform, but inequality continues because we are being blindsided and made to think it’s normal. It’s become such a norm that it’s not even realized by many of these students. They were never taught to think outside of this bubble that they are actually able to go to a good college and be in a different field.
There is a lot of modern day segregation going on in schools that are causing an educational gap within college and job opportunities in people of color. It’s difficult, even almost impossible to some, to envision a world where students of color feel safe and valued at school. It’s hard to see a place where everyone has equal access to all the things they would need for success because it’s just so screwed into our brains to think the opposite. But, the first step to get there would be for kids to actually be able to recognize what’s happening and how it is directly affecting them.
Nothing is going to change when people don’t think there’s a problem. This would be the biggest step in order to begin working towards a world even close to equality. Then, there could be a possibility where kids, of all colors, could go to school for whatever they wanted to, to be whatever they actually knew they could be. All kids could dream what they want to without this barrier that holds most of them back. It would be a straight line where you could see everyone, instead of front to back, separated by color and background. Kids wouldn’t have to be stuck in this box of what they were able to do, and what they wanted to do. Equal opportunity, and equal chance. A world that could give all kids the ability to have everything they needed for them to succeed, would be a perfect one.