Grossmont College Educational

M9 Discussion Forum: Educational (In)Equality (ASSIGNMENT)

Instructions :

First, what did you learn from the material presented in this module. Make sure you provide at least one clear example. You can draw from the textbook, film or any of the additional readings. Why did this example catch you attention?

Second, what have been your experiences within the educational system? Make a connection with the course material (readings, lecture, and/or film).

Materials :

Lecture: Education in the U.S.

Education is perceived as an important tool that opens the doors to opportunity and success. However, is all education created equal?

We’ll start this lecture by looking at the educational attainment statistics in the United States.

Quote by Nelson Mandala, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”

Image result for educational attainment bachelor’s or more

Is Education the Great Equalizer?

Education opens the doors to opportunities. And, education is positively correlated to income and to more employment opportunities.

While education opens doors to opportunities, these doors are not equally opened for everyone.

During Jim Crow Era and the “Separate but Equal” policies established in the Plessy vs Ferguson case in 1896, children of color have received different (less than/second class) educational opportunities and resources.

Today, we can see that schools receive different funding. Schools in poor neighborhoods are disadvantaged. Children of color are concentrated in poor neighborhoods.

Historically, not all groups of people have had similar experiences in educational institutions. Let’s look at some statistics of high school drop out rates, college enrollment, and college completion.

Image result for status of high school dropout rates

College Enrollment Rates by Race

Image result for college completion by race

Chart, Graduation rates by race and gender, 2017

NOTE: There is a difference between college enrollment and college graduation/completion. Just because someone enrolls in college, it doesn’t mean they graduate college. Of those who enroll in college, an even smaller percentage graduate.

“Drop Out” vs. “Pushed Out”?

In a previous module, we discussed the topic of culture. An element of culture is language. Language is important because it shapes the way people view the world.

Think about what the label, “drop out” symbolizes or the connotation behind it. It symbolizes a decision or a voluntary act. (In a later module, we will learn more about the powerful effects of labeling through our discussion of labeling theory). Thus, when people are labeled “drop out,” it signifies the idea that students decided to stop attending school. It places the blame on the student.

However, sociologists look beyond the individual and focus on how social institutions or social structures shape students’ experiences. Do students stop attending school/college just because they want to? Well, some my do; they may just find college boring. However, the majority of students stop attending school because educational institutions have failed them. For instance, are there resources to help them navigate the complicated college requirements, especially if they are first-generation college students? Do students feel welcomed in college? Can students afford to pay the increasing college tuition? These are some of the reasons students do not finish college. Thus, they don’t “drop out”; they are “pushed out” by the barriers they face.

The chart below shows some of the reasons why students leave college. As you can see, there are some who leave college because they just don’t find value in it or find it boring–these students do “drop out”!

However, the majority of student leave college because of economic reasons and other family obligations. Thus, they were “pushed out” of school due to other reasons–not because they were not interested in college.

(As you may imagine, I don’t agree with the title for the chart below!)

Chart, Why Students Drop Out

As mentioned earlier, education is important because it is positively correlated with income and more job opportunities. In other words, you are less likely to be unemployed and you are more likely to earn more money compared to those with no college degree!

Labor force participation rates by education level

2019 data of unemployment rates and earnings by educational attainment

The previous graphs show statistics on the educational attainment of racial groups in the U.S.

One pattern we can see is that Latinx population has the highest drop out rate followed by African American/Black population. But, the high school drop-out rates have significantly declined.

College enrollment rates are increasing for all racial groups.

The percentage of people who complete college is very low. Of those who enroll on college, Asian/Asian Americans have the highest, followed by white, African-American/Black, and last, Latinx.

A college education is important as it provides more employment opportunities and higher earnings.

Overall, we can see that Latinx and African-American/Black communities are the most disadvantaged in the educational system. But, we need to think critically about why it is that some groups do not earn a college degree. Is it because they “dropped out” or were they “pushed out”?

Fighting for Educational Equality

Latinx and African Americans have been fighting for educational equality for a long time. While there have been some triumphs, particularly the desegregation of schools, there are still many challenges ahead.

We will look at three major school desegregation court cases where people of color have fought for educational equality.

The most widely known school desegregation case is Brown v Board of Education (1954). (Links to an external site.)

Brown v Board of Education ruling in newspaper

Supreme court ruled, “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

Many White parents took their children out of public schools after ruling.

While this is the most widely known, there were previous school desegregation cases headed by the Mexican-American community.

One of the first cases to fight school segregation is:

Roberto Alvarez v. the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District. (Links to an external site.)

This case took place in 1931 in Lemon Grove, CA.

Alvarez v Board of Trustees of Lemon Grove School Distric_decision announement

The other case to fight school segregation is:

Mendez v. Westminster School District. (Links to an external site.)

This case took place in 1946, in Orange County, CA.

Newspaper article about ruling of Mendez v Wesminster case in Orange County

The ruling for Roberto Alvarez vs. the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District (1931) was applied only to the Lemon Grove community.

The ruling for the Mendez v. Westminster School District (1947) was applied to the state of CA.

The ruling for the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) was applied to the entire country, which is why it’s such a significant case.

After the Brown v. Board of Education ruled that educational segregation by race was unconstitutional, schools nation-wide were ordered to desegregate all schools.

MATERIAL 2: The lemon grove film

Material 3:”Operation Varsity Blues”: Implications of the College Bribery Scandal

We tend to see education as the door to opportunity in the United States no matter who you are. This is true to some extent, as higher education is positively correlated to higher income. But, it is also highly flawed.

The college bribery scandal in early 2019 gives us a glimpse into why not everyone has equal access to educational institutions.

Please read the article on The Wide Implications of the College Admissions Bribery Scandal (Links to an external site.) https://www.financialsamurai.com/the-wide-implicat…


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