The Educational Disparities Between Blacks and Whites in America

1. Introduction

The United States is a multicultural society. People from different races and ethnicity have different opportunities, especially in educational attainment. In this essay, we will compare the educational opportunities of non-Hispanic whites with those of blacks. We will look at the history of black education in America, segregation in black and white schools, funding for black and white schools, the No Child Left Behind Act, and finally the role of the federal government in supporting or hindering black educational attainment.

2. Non-Hispanic Whites vs. Blacks in Education

Blacks have always faced disparities in education when compared to non-Hispanic whites. In early America, blacks were not even allowed to attend school. They were seen as inferior and not worthy of an education. Even after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of slavery, blacks were still discriminated against in education. They were often not allowed to attend the same schools as whites or they were given inferior resources. As a result, the gap between blacks and whites in education has always been large. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2017, the high school graduation rate for blacks was 77 percent while the graduation rate for whites was 86 percent. The college enrollment rate for blacks was 35 percent while the enrollment rate for whites was 69 percent. And finally, the college graduation rate for blacks was 21 percent while the graduation rate for whites was 59 percent (NCES, 2017). These numbers show that there is still a large gap between blacks and whites in education. There are many factors that contribute to this gap including segregation, funding, and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). We will now look at each of these factors in more detail.

3. The No Child Left Behind Act

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a federal law that was passed in 2001. The law requires all public schools to administer standardized tests to students in order to measure their academic progress. Schools that do not make adequate progress are subject to sanctions from the federal government. The NCLB also requires states to set aside money to help low-performing schools improve their test scores. While the NCLB had good intentions, it has actually made educational disparities worse. The biggest problem with the NCLB is that it punishes schools for not making adequate progress without providing them with enough resources to improve. This is especially true for schools with large numbers of poor and minority students who are already at a disadvantage. As a result of the NCLB, many schools have been forced to focus on test preparation at the expense of other important subjects like science, social studies, and arts (NEA, 2016). This has led to a decrease in creativity and critical thinking among students. In addition, because schools are under so much pressure to improve test scores, they often resort to cheating or giving students easy answers so that they can pass the test (NAACP, 2016). The NCLB has also led to an increase in segregation because schools with large numbers of minority students are more likely to be labeled as failing and be subject to sanctions (NAACP, 2016). The NCLB is just one example of how well-intentioned laws can actually make educational disparities worse instead of better.

4. Segregation in Black and White Schools

Segregation is another factor that contributes to educational disparities between blacks and whites. Segregation in education refers to the separation of students by race. Segregated schools are usually unequal because white students tend to get more resources than black students. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. As a result of this ruling, schools were supposed to be integrated and black and white students were supposed to attend the same schools. However, segregation still exists today. In fact, segregation has actually increased since the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. This is because many schools have been resegregated through housing policies, school district boundaries, and charter schools (NAACP, 2016). As a result of segregation, black students often attend inferior schools with less experienced teachers, fewer resources, and less challenging curriculum (NAACP, 2016). This contributes to the educational disparities between blacks and whites.

5. Funding for Black and White Schools

Another factor that contributes to educational disparities between blacks and whites is the funding for black and white schools. Schools are primarily funded through property taxes. This means that wealthy neighborhoods tend to have better-funded schools than poor neighborhoods. Because most blacks live in poor neighborhoods, they often attend underfunded schools. In addition, because states give more money to wealthier districts than poorer districts, black students are also at a disadvantage when it comes to state funding (NAACP, 2016). As a result of this funding disparity, black students often attend inferior schools with less experienced teachers, fewer resources, and less challenging curriculum (NAACP, 2016). This further contributes to the educational disparities between blacks and whites.

6. The U.S. Education System

The final factor that we will look at is the U.S. education system itself. The U.S. education system is designed to sort students into different levels based on their ability. Students are placed into different classes and tracks based on their test scores and grades. The problem with this system is that it reinforces segregation and educational disparities. Black students are more likely to be placed in lower level classes and tracks even if they have the same ability as white students (NAACP, 2016). As a result, black students are less likely to receive a quality education and are more likely to drop out of school. This further contributes to the educational disparities between blacks and whites.

7. The Federal Government and Educational Disparities

The federal government has always been involved in education. In 1867, Congress passed the First Morrill Act which provided land grants for states to establish colleges for the purpose of teaching agriculture and mechanical arts (HDMA, n.d.). In 1890, Congress passed the Second Morrill Act which established a separate land-grant college for blacks (HBCU, n.d.). In 1917, Congress passed the Smith-Hughes Act which established federal funding for vocational education (CTE, n.d.). And finally, in 1965, Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act which provides federal funding for public elementary and secondary schools (ESEA, n.d.). While the federal government has always been involved in education, it has not always been equally involved in the education of blacks and whites.

The federal government has actually done more to harm black education than to help it. One example of this is the No Child Left Behind Act which we discussed earlier. Another example is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act which provides federal funding for public elementary and secondary schools. While this law was supposed to help all students, it actually did more harm than good for black students. The law required states to set aside money to help low-performing schools improve their test scores. However, because states give more money to wealthier districts than poorer districts, black students are actually at a disadvantage when it comes to this funding (NAACP, 2016). As a result, black students often attend inferior schools with less experienced teachers, fewer resources, and less challenging curriculum (NAACP, 2016). This further contributes to the educational disparities between blacks and whites.

8. Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many factors that contribute to educational disparities between blacks and whites. These factors include segregation, funding, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the U.S. education system itself. The federal government has also played a role in these disparities. While the federal government has always been involved in education, it has not always been equally involved in the education of blacks and whites. In fact, the federal government has actually done more to harm black education than to help it. As a result of all these factors, blacks continue to face disparities in education when compared to whites.

FAQ

The historical origins of educational disparities between non-Hispanic whites and blacks in the United States can be traced back to the days of slavery, when black Americans were denied both formal and informal education opportunities. After the Civil War, some progress was made with the establishment of schools for black children, but these were often underfunded and segregated from white schools. Over time, as racial discrimination has decreased overall in society, educational disparities between whites and blacks have also shrunk somewhat, although they still exist today.

Educational disparities between non-Hispanic whites and blacks in the United States have changed over time in response to changes in society at large. During the days of slavery, blacks were denied any opportunity for formal education. After the Civil War, some progress was made with the establishment of schools for black children, but these were often underfunded and segregated from white schools. Over time, as racial discrimination has decreased overall in society, educational disparities between whites and blacks have also shrunk somewhat, although they still exist today.

There are a number of factors that contribute to educational disparities between non-Hispanic whites and blacks in the United States. Some of these include socioeconomic status (black Americans are more likely to live in poverty than white Americans), racism (both intentional and unintentional), and segregation (both residential and school).

The consequences of educational disparities for individuals include lower levels of academic achievement, reduced employment opportunities, and lower earnings potential. For families, educational disparities can lead to intergenerational cycles of poverty . And for society as a whole , persistent educational inequalities can result in a less educated workforce , which can lead to economic stagnation .

There are a number ways to reduce or eliminate educational disparities between non-Hispanic whites and blacks in the United States . These include improving access to quality preschool programs , increasing funding for schools serving predominantly black student populations , desegregating schools ,and implementing affirmative action policies at colleges and universities .