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My Thoughts
Race and Ethnicity in Education
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My Analyses of Articles 

History of Education

 

While I feel as though minorities have made significant improvements in education over the years, there is still a lot of work to be done. Schools may be integrated, but, in my eyes, education has yet to be labeled as equal. I think about the schools in urban settings and the differences they have in terms of access to educational tools. I went to a suburban school with tons of electronic resources, well-trained teachers, and a varied curriculum. I feel like my access to these resources is what furthered my education along significantly. What about those schools that do not have computers for almost every child, or a library full of books?

 It is hard for me to imagine how far we have come in educational history because I have lived in such a secluded life. These articles really brought to life the struggles that minorities have had in education, and the issues that we face today.

The Achievement Gap

 

The disparity in the test scores between minorities and whites is beyond alarming. I understand how hard it is for educational reform to occur, but something needs to happen…fast! A statistic that made me particularly uneasy is the differences in SAT scores. Colleges take these scores into account when deciding who to accept and who to reject. The importance of raising these scores can decide the future of many minority students.

I also discussed how critical reading is. I cannot emphasize enough that a students’ ability to read in the younger years is telling of their future educational accomplishments. Without early basic skills students may fall behind as the years progress. Frustration and a low sense of self-worth seem almost inevitable for students of low achievement.

 In regards to mathematic skills, I vividly remember a game I played in an elementary class. The challenge was to name a job that did NOT use mathematic or numbers in any way, shape or form. It is an impossible feat, as every job requires some level of math. This challenge demonstrates how important math skills are in children’s’ future.

An article that we read earlier this year also touches on the achievement gap and where it stems from. David C. Berliner maintains that standardized tests are not the way we should be monitoring students’ achievement. Rather, educational reform needs to address the issues at hand before looking at standardized tests. What is the main issue in Berliner’s mind? The 600-pound gorilla representing poverty that lies in many classrooms today. He feels that addressing the issue of poverty is crucial to ensuring students’ success.

 

Teachers and Minority students

 

Preparing for teaching in a culturally diverse environment requires an extra effort on the teacher’s behalf. White-Clark discusses the need for teacher training and the ways in which they should go about it. I propose that this sort of training begin to take place while teachers are still in school.

This past semester, while studying abroad in Spain, I took a class called “managing cultural differences in a business setting”. This class really opened my eyes to the different customs that other countries utilize in the business world. For instance, Spanish business people are much for informal and friendly than those from the United States. If I can take a class on being aware of cultural differences in the business setting, why can’t future teachers take a class about cultural awareness in the educational setting? This sort of education will teach them about the variety of students they will encounter and how they can best teach them. 

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