What Are The Inequities?

What are the inequities?

are students receiving the proper resources to succeed?

Students need the proper resources to receive the education they deserve to succeed.

Created by: Sydney Lynch

inequity in school impacts student growth

Extensive research done by the Economic Policy Institute has found that children’s social class is one of the most significant barriers of the educational success of a child. It is increasingly shown that performance gaps by social class take a position in the earliest years of children’s lives and will only increase the years that follow. When children get far behind, they are rarely able to make up the lost ground. To be successful, students need adequate learning materials inside and outside of the classroom, as well as equal opportunity among all students. Education is a gateway for an opportunity—a pathway to progress through which young people acquire the skills, knowledge and experiences to obtain good jobs and have bright futures. Yet in the U.S., education is highly inequitable.

On average, students from minority backgrounds, immigrant origins, and economically disadvantaged families leave school earlier, receive fewer degrees and certificates and exhibit lower academic skills than their more privileged peers. To address these inequalities, we need research that identifies effective responses to the challenges that give rise to unequal opportunities and outcomes. 

The digital divide, as far as education goes, it is often referred to as the “homework gap” due to the challenges that students in technology-deficient circumstances face when trying to do their homework outside of school grounds. This gap continues to widen as teachers incorporate technology-based learning into their daily activities. As most recent as 2018, research about the digital divide has focused on the US population generally, with little attention paid to determining whether the divide exists among students in the US education system. 

The High School Students’ Access to and Use of Technology at Home and in School brief focused on overall survey results and results for selected subgroups. Students who have access to only one device at home represent 14 percent of all survey members who responded. 

85 percent of respondents reported having access to anywhere from two to five devices at home. The 1 percent of respondents reported having access to no devices at home, therefore little can be reported about device type and use. Students with access to only one device may need to share that device with other family members in their household. These family members might include siblings who also need the device for homework and other school-related activities. This limits the availability of the device for homework and other similar activities. In addition, if the device breaks, students will not have an additional device with which to complete school–related activities. Students with access to more than one device are less likely to face these challenges. 

The American education system is not equitable for a number of reasons. According to The Edvocate, some of these reasons include parents not being involved as much as they should be. Time spent in the classroom is simply not enough for teachers to instruct every student, to teach them what they need to know. There must be some interaction outside school hours provided by parents or family. Of course, students at a socio-economic disadvantage often struggle in school, particularly if parents lack higher levels of education. Another reason is lack of funding in public schools, making them overcrowded and subject to inadequate supplies. A study by the Nation Center for Education Statistics found that 14 percent of the U.S. schools exceed capacity. Students are not getting the individual attention that they need in order to obtain the skills they need to thrive as grown adults. Some of these schools will close due to lack of funding, as well as a shortage of teachers. 

A big reason most people are lost on in these times is the school-to-prison pipeline. Over half of black young men who attend urban high schools do not earn a diploma. Of these dropouts, nearly 60 percent will go to prison at some point. But what we fail to think about is, what if scoffing at a connection between a strong education and a life lived on the straight and narrow is an easy way to bypass the real issues in K-12 learning? Students who are at risk of dropping out of high school or turning to crime need more than a good report card. They need alternative suggestions on living a life that rises above their current circumstances. For a young person to truly have a shot at an honest life, he or she has to believe in the value of an education and its impact on good citizenship.

Written by: Ashley Moore

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