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Race and Ethnicity in Education
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Welcome!

This website will explore whether K-12 minorities actually achieve at a lower level in school. Is there evidence for this statement? If so, what solutions have been successful or ought to be tested?

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What's the big idea anyway???

The educational community is a breeding ground for highly debatable topics and areas of interest. One of the most controversial is the role of diversity in schools and its effect on the students. Our group has chosen to concentrate on five different examples of student diversity; socioeconomic status and poverty, race and ethnicity, culture, language and lastly, gender. I will be concentrating on race and ethnicity and the influence it has on the students and schools. The following paragraphs provide a brief overview of pertinent articles on race and ethnicity in schools.

James Banks touches on the relationship between ethnic minority youth and academic achievement that is clearly under par. He goes on to state that there is clearly an issue at hand, but that the way researchers are going about solving this is unorganized. He also covers the social class hypothesis regarding the relationship between class sensitivity and ethnicity. These topics and the results he draws from them are all extremely important for recognizing the ethnic and racial diversity that exists in our classrooms today.

The second group of authors (Catalogna, Greene and Zirkel) writes in regard to the teacher’s perception of a racially diverse classroom. They believe that teachers’ methods and expectations can be significantly altered simply because a student is of a different race. They conduct an interview study to test this hypothesis. This study has significant implications in our schools because students of different races may be experiencing the classroom in different ways.

Probably the most explicit article I encountered is that of researcher John Singleton. His work, entitled Education and Ethnicity, clearly outlines the role of education and ethnicity in comparative education. He delves into the definition of ethnicity for the larger part of his paper. He then concludes by examining how ethnicity affects modern education, educational policies and educational research. This article’s relevance to the topic of race and ethnicity is quite self-explanatory. It is one of the more straightforward articles that I encountered in my research.

Vilma Ortiz writes an article that examines the specific affects of race and ethnicity in schools. This researcher brings in evidence about the reading activities amongst Hispanic, black and white students and how these are reflected in their reading proficiency. An important piece of evidence in her paper is that the reading levels of white students are significantly higher than those of blacks and Hispanics. She goes on to explain this variation by exploring the parents’ education levels and by monitoring the reading activities that take place in the home. Her desire is to see the implications of improving the reading activities among all children.

The final article is from an article in The American Enterprise. The specific issue that this article hails from, entitled Race, Broken Schools, and Affirmative Action, is an excellent informational guide about the position of minorities in schools today. Not only does this article include recent statistics about minority’s test scores in relation to the majority, but it also individual accounts of their experiences in schools. This article is much less technical than the others, but still successfully brings to light the issue at hand.

The articles outlined above are only a handful of the hundreds, if not thousands, of articles written about this subject. This topic has relevance to me because I attended a school that was quite diverse. I am curious to discover how different races and ethnicities experience school. This project should provide an interesting examination about the function of diversity in education today.

For any comments or questions in regard to this site please email Lauren at Lsglass@umich.edu