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Many social barriers to progress in different parts of the world have been eliminated through the development of policies that foster equality, but the inequality in education along racial lines has always been a defining factor in many communities. Multiracial societies across the globe have been associated with a high level of inequality in access to quality education. By definition, equal education opportunities refer to the provision of fair chances for every child to be educated and to realize their respective talents.
However, while many societies claim that there are policies calling for equality in education, it is apparent that the minority groups in the community are still facing limited chances in education. Some of the underlying issues include segregation, lack of development in the education sector within the poor neighborhoods inhabited by the racial minorities, and the effect of social class on race and opportunities.
Nations like the United States and Australia provide good examples of societies that have been recurrently associated with social issues concerning the lack of equal opportunities to the different races. By reviewing secondary material from these communities and relating them to the relevant theoretical frameworks, it is possible to highlight the link between race and education level. The minority racial groups have continually recorded lower achievements in education because of segregation and non-responsiveness on the part of the authorities charged with the protection of the right to equal opportunities.
Critical Race Theory
The critical race theory provides a clear insight into the issues that might influence the unequal opportunities in education for different races. According to the theory, some of the factors that may foster unequal education achievements among people from different races include the dynamics of curriculum, lack of infrastructure, the cost of education and the social class associated with specific racial groups, and the standardization of testing, among several other issues.
The quality of the curriculum influences the education level attained by different students; hence, if the quality of education in a given community is lower than others, the affected parties are likely to fail in attaining opportunities for higher education. For instance, within the United States, the government has developed the no child left behind policy, which calls for the standardization of the curriculum (Hawley & Nieto, 2010).
However, despite this initiative, it is apparent that the schools in the poor neighborhoods inhabited by the Blacks and the Latinos are still associated with poor educational infrastructure and inadequate personnel. This results in the development of significant gaps between the minorities and their White counterparts in good schools. The attainment of intellectual property in the United States is a function of the ability to access the best schools, which is an opportunity that is unevenly distributed among the racial groups.
The interplay between race, policies, and power has also led to the inequality in education levels among different races. For instance, in both Australia and the United States, the Whites have always been dominant to other racial groups. In Australia, the majority of the lawmakers are the White settlers who took over the rule of the nation. Most of the policies developed by the authorities are geared toward enhancing the opportunities of the settlers while ignoring the needs of the aboriginals and other minority groups in society.
The issue of segregation in education is quite widespread in this society. In the United States, on the other hand, the situation is similar, but the government has tried to develop policies that foster equal opportunities. However, the segregation process in education within the United States is based on the social class associated with different racial groups (Delgado & Stefancic, 2012).
For instance, most private educational entities in the United States are associated with a very low level of diversity because there are a limited number of minority racial group members that can afford the high cost of education in private schools. Based on the differences between the quality of education in public and private entities, the minority racial groups have slim chances of attaining higher education levels. It is also apparent that private schools only provide scholarships to people from poor neighborhoods to exploit their talents in other fields. These fields include art and sports.
Social Class and Education
The modern world has seen the race and social class going hand-in-hand in most societies, and it is apparent that the poor communities in the developed nations are comprised of the minority racial groups. The intersection between race and social class highlights three major factors that influence the education level among the members of the community. The first factor is the material elements of education.
This factor is associated with various issues that may influence different educational outcomes. For instance, the lower social class is associated with poor health outcomes, especially among the children, which is a result of poor housing and unhealthy diets, which influences more incidences of absenteeism in class. Poor diets and harsh social and economic environments have also been tied to poor cognitive development among the children in this social class (Noguera & Akom, 2016).
The economic problems faced by parents in this bracket of the society also influence them to take their children to school later than the children from the higher social classes. The cost of education is very high, which influences the parents to wait longer before their children can enroll in school, and this has a negative effect on the rate of their cognitive development.
Additionally, the low financial resources found among the members of this community results in the lack of sufficient funds to buy books and other educational material for children. Most public schools also rely on donations from the parents, and since the low social class is associated with poverty, the educational infrastructure is quite inadequate to enhance the ability of the students to attain equal opportunities in talent development.
There is also a clear indication that while some children from the minority ethnic groups in the lower social class perform well in school, their parents cannot afford the cost of higher education (Teranishi, 2010). The cost of higher education has escalated exponentially in the past several decades across the developed economies, and this has led to a lower level of diversity in colleges. Furthermore, the children from these groups are also likely to start working on a part-time basis while still in school to make ends meet, which may result in a lower level of performance in school compared to the students that do not need to work. Some children from minority groups are forced to drop out of school when the cost of higher education becomes too high.
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The second factor is the cultural aspect of the various racial groups. It is apparent that the parents in the low social class are also associated with lower education levels, which influences their ability to appreciate the necessity of education. It is apparent that the parents in this bracket of the society have to work several jobs, and they spend less time with their children, which makes it difficult to track the educational performance of the children.
The performance of students in school is directly influenced by the participation of the parents in encouraging the children. The level of education of the parents also plays a major role in influencing the children to attain higher education levels, and as evidenced by the American society, the most educated parents are Whites, whereas the least educated parents are among the minority groups. This translates to a society where the education level of respective individuals is subjected to inequalities (Lipman, 2013).
The fact that most of the parents in the minority racial groups are laborers and hold lower positions in different organizations implies that their children seldom get to interact with people who can mentor them into getting the motivation to attain higher levels of education. The financial constraints associated with the parents also keep the children from asking for support in various courses to enhance their talents.
Lastly, the factors within the school environment also have a negative impact on the education level attained by the students from the minority racial groups. For instance, the evaluation process by teachers can be discriminatory in nature; thus, failing to attain the standardized level of evaluations that are required to develop a fair competitive platform for opportunities in higher education. It is also apparent that indirect discrimination and stereotyping is also a definitive factor in schools across different communities. Students from the minority groups have traditionally faced stereotypes associated with low expectations, labeling, and negative prophecies that are self-fulfilling.
For instance, the United States has been associated with the stereotype that African American students can only prosper through the attainment of high performance in areas that are not associated with classwork (Olshansky et al., 2012). For instance, various colleges have been associated with poaching African American students from each other to play in various sports. Being good in sports is also one of the ways that children from minority groups can secure positions in private colleges through scholarship programs. Racial stereotyping in school creates an environment where children from minority racial groups are highly demotivated, and this affects their performance and educational outcomes.
Race and Educational Opportunities
The primary cause of inequality in education level among students from different racial backgrounds is the lack of access to similar resources. This includes the fact that the minority groups in the society are likely to have access to public schools whereas their counterparts can afford the expensive educational opportunities in private schools. Public schools have been recurrently associated with the lack of sufficient resources to develop the individual talents of the students.
For instance, it is apparent that most schools in the United States are wiping out the art classes because of the lack of funding from the government. This is one of the issues that have led to stiff competition in schools on the basis of mathematics, languages, and science subjects, while the art subjects have been eliminated (Klees, Samoff, & Stromquist, 2012). However, this phenomenon is only present in public schools. Private institutions still have the financial capabilities to promote an enhancement in students’ talents in art subjects such as music. This implies that children with access to expensive education in private schools have a higher chance of attaining higher levels of education in art subjects.
Just as the Marxist ideology suggests, education is the main tool that enables individuals in society to actively take part in the development of society (Sarup, 2013). It provides individuals with an opportunity to be drivers of society. However, there is a clear indication that education among the minority racial groups has been challenged by the lack of availability of chances for every child to prosper.
This has resulted in the development of a society where the members of the minority groups have a very low contribution to the development of the economy as evidenced by their low representation in the corporate sector and other technical careers that involve a high level of education. While most companies have adopted the application of affirmative action in their recruitment process, the minority racial groups are still disadvantaged by the fact that the cost of higher education is not affordable for the people in their social class. The Marxist ideology presents education as the primary cause of the development of capitalism, but the concept has led to the segregation of the minority groups from various institutions, including the educational system.
The main issue associated with race and education level is the lack of consideration of the educational outcomes of the minority races. It is essential for the government to develop policies that enhance access to education for the minority groups, but the capitalist setting of the modern environment has led to the development of a system that is associated with stiff competition for opportunities.
A study conducted by the World Bank revealed that there is a high coefficient of inequality in the level of education attained by the minority racial groups, especially in the developed economies (Klees, Samoff, & Stromquist, 2012). Governments have continuously ignored their responsibility to enhance the quality and accessibility of education to all citizens.
Racial Segregation and Education Levels
The current status of higher education in the United States and other developed economies has seen the exponential increment of tuition, which has led to a relatively low level of diversity in the institutions. It is apparent that the colleges in the United States have a very low number of Blacks and Latinos. Most of the prestigious universities in the nation are associated with a very low level of cultural diversity. Most of the people in the Universities are Whites from the middle and upper class of the society, and the percentage of diversity is usually a result of the presence of international students from various nations (Delgado & Stefancic, 2012).
Additionally, the education level of the individuals from different racial backgrounds is associated with the development of a culture, where the values of one generation are passed to the next generation. Among the Black Americans and the Aboriginals in Australia, the members of the minority groups have been subjected to discrimination and segregation on a long-term basis, which has influenced the development of a culture that is associated with the members excelling in other areas aside from education.
The racial background has been identified as a primary determinant of the educational outcomes of the people in the society. The minority groups in various nations, including the United States and Australia, have been associated with a low level of educational achievement. This issue has been influenced by the lack of policies to protect minority groups in the education journey. Most of the members of the minority groups are subjected to social and economic environments that do not favor their quest for educational prosperity.
This is especially seen through the number of people from the minority groups that are graduating from colleges. Colleges in the United States and Australia are characterized by a very low level of cultural diversity. This is mainly caused by the fact that most of the colleges are looking to reduce the number of students graduating in the competitive courses through the escalation of tuition fees. A large number of the members of the minority groups in the colleges is on scholarships in the prestigious colleges.
At the lower education levels, the minority racial groups are forced by their financial statuses to enroll in the public schools, which are rarely adequately furnished with facilities and qualified teachers. The minority racial groups are also commonly associated with stereotypes that compel the students to pursue other careers that require talent development, rather than higher educational qualifications.
Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2012). Critical race theory: An introduction. New York: NYU Press.
Hawley, W. D., & Nieto, S. (2010). Another Inconvenient Truth: Race and Ethnicity Matter. Educational Leadership, 68(3), 66-71.
Klees, S. J., Samoff, J., & Stromquist, N. P. (Eds.). (2012). The World Bank and education: Critiques and alternatives (Vol. 14). Berlin: Springer Science & Business Media.
Lipman, P. (2013). The new political economy of urban education: Neoliberalism, race, and the right to the city. London: Taylor & Francis.
Noguera, P. A. & Akom, A. (2016). The Significance of Race in the Racial Gap in Academic Achievement. Web.
Olshansky, S. J., Antonucci, T., Berkman, L., Binstock, R. H., Boersch-Supan, A., Cacioppo, J. T., & Jackson, J. (2012). Differences in life expectancy due to race and educational differences are widening, and many may not catch up. Health Affairs, 31(8), 1803-1813.
Sarup, M. (2013). Marxism and Education (RLE Edu L): A Study of Phenomenological and Marxist Approaches to Education. London: Routledge.
Teranishi, R. T. (2010). Asians in the Ivory Tower: Dilemmas of Racial Inequality in American Higher Education. Multicultural Education Series. New York: Teachers College Press.