I watched a movie called The blind side. It is a warm story that a homeless black kid adopted by a white family becomes a successful professional football player. In that movie, the boy’s name is Big Mike and he does not have a home to stay and struggles with his schoolwork until he meets Mrs.Touhys, a rich white wife who is kind and generous. She supports his living and schoolwork until he becomes a college student. However, from my perspective, there is a stereotype of African American people illustrated naturally by the movie, which is that it is normal that black students have trouble with schoolwork and it is absolutely easy for them to succeed in sports. In a broad way, trouble with schoolwork is called academic achievement gaps. From 1980 to nowadays, African American kids, just like all the other American students, go to public schools or private schools, but the data shows that many African American people do not get equal opportunity of education than white people. Moreover, multiple historical circumstances cause the reasons why academic achievement gaps happen, which means solving these difficulties may not be easy.
There is a test called “Armed Forces Qualifying Test”. The men getting similar scores will get similar wages. People think the test is racial biased because if the wage of the African American is low, he must get low scores on that test. Later the test was canceled. ROLAND G. FRYER and STEVEN D. LEVITT did a new data test with the U.S. Department of Education. The result is unexpected: for the young black and white kids, they get similar scores in Math and Reading tests, which means there is no gap of learning ability if the family backgrounds of them are similar. For children born in 1990s, the gap of black kids and white kids are getting smaller because they are having more and more similar scores, which is a promising sign. However, once they get in to the schools, the gap of them grows larger and larger. If the gap continued to grow at this rate, black kids would be 50 percent behind the white kids.
The first and most important factor influencing black children’s learning environment is the socioeconomic status of their parents. About “60 percent black families are facing low income problem (less than 200 percent FPL), 25 percent black families are Poor( less than FPL, the Federal Poverty Line), and 10 percent black families are Extreme ( less than 50 percent FPL)” (Cook, Lindsey). Black Children are more likely to be impacted by their experience of their childhood, such as “witnessing domestic violence” (Cook, Lindsey). The child maltreatment rate for black kids was almost 2 times than white kids. Furthermore, it is really obvious that some black students can not get good grades because they do not have enough money to buy stuff for studying or pay a good tutor.
We learned about the red lining and possessive investment in Whiteness. Many resources were given to white community and black people can not have good stuff. I think it is pretty bad because community will affect the recourses of education. Professor Mrs. Pittman talked about some black kids go to schools which are in communities other than which they lived in because they wanted a better education even if it is illegal. Those schools in the white community may offer better education. The possessive investment in whiteness makes the community in white people better than those in black people. The rate of truancy of black students is much better than white and some good kids may be influenced by those factors. Many parents try their best to send their children to good school because if they do, their children are more likely to have a different and better life.
The fact that “60 percent black students attend schools which have more than 50-percent minority students” (Cook, Lindsey). There is another reason explaining why black kids have more difficulties getting good grades, which black children often live in communities which are very needy. More black parents report that their children living in a dangerous neighborhood than white.
The black students do not get enough recsources of education. The research shows that black students are having trouble being access to the full range of high school education. 75 percent Asian students and 70 of percent white students can take calculus because their schools offer, while only 50 percent of black students have the opportunity to take the calculus. 20 percent of white students take calculus in high school, however, only 6 percent black students take calculus in high school. White students also get higher grades in AP exam than black students.
A study to examine the percentage of black students graduate from college started at a 4- year college in 2006. Only 1 in 5 black students completed their schoolwork, and 40 percent of black students graduate from college in six years. 90 percent of black students receive a loan by their fourth year in college. Even worse, for those black students who can not graduate in six years, they still need to pay back their loans. Even if they graduate, the job market is not quite friendly to black graduates. In the interview period, recent research shows that for the two candidate who have almost same capabilities, the black candidate is less likely to be admitted.
American is not the only one country who is facing the challenging of equal opportunity of education. In my own country, after 30 years of social reform, China is also having difficulty providing the same opportunity in education for some poor kids. However, because of different history background, there is no private education in China (Public schools are much better than private schools in China). The government will force the universities to hold some seats for poor students and the government is more likely to give the students scholarship if the students having financial difficulty. For some students who need to make money very early to support his family, the government encourages them to learn some skills like fixing cars. In my culture, all the parents believe getting a university education can change one’s destiny. Take myself as an example, my father was born in a very poor family. Both of my grandparents were farmers but they believed the study of their children is most important than everything, so they sold everything they could to support my father’s schoolwork. My father succeeded later and supports the lives of my grandparents now.
There are two things basically impeding black students: socioeconomics and lack of resources. The situation of education of African American people matters because it is still happening today, from 1980 to now. Big Mike in that movie is lucky, he becomes a professional football player with the help of a kind family instead of becoming an illiterate gangster. The difficulty for education of black students is that those factors like low income and lack of resources of education influence each other and become a viscous circle. Family influences the study of children, and the study influences his or her later salaries. There is a lot of environmental influence on black students to let them make bad choice but even if they get through it, the society is not very just. The unequal opportunity of education for black people is still happening today, but we should know that the majority of black people earn less than that of white people not because white people are smarter and better at study, but because there are multiple situations impeding the academic success of black students.
Cook, Lindsey. “U.S. Education: Still Separate and Unequal.” US News. U.S.News & World Report, 28 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 Nov. 2015.
Fryer, Roland G., and Steven D. Levitt. “Falling Behind – Education Next.”RSS. N.p., 30 June 2006. Web. 28 Nov. 2015.