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NOT Going to College was the BEST Decision of My Life
Despite stark differences in funding, teacher quality, curriculum, and class sizes, the prevailing view is that if students do not achieve, it is their own fault. If we are ever to get beyond the problem of the color line, we must confront and address these inequalities. Americans often forget that as late as the s most African-American, Latino, and Native American students were educated in wholly segregated schools funded at rates many times lower than those serving whites and were excluded from many higher education institutions entirely. The end of legal segregation followed by efforts to equalize spending since has made a substantial difference for student achievement.
On the Scholastic Aptitude Test SAT , the scores of African-American students climbed 54 points between and , while those of white students remained stable. Edited by Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. Sawhill Even so, educational experiences for minority students have continued to be substantially separate and unequal. Two-thirds of minority students still attend schools that are predominantly minority, most of them located in central cities and funded well below those in neighboring suburban districts. Recent analyses of data prepared for school finance cases in Alabama, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, and Texas have found that on every tangible measure—from qualified teachers to curriculum offerings—schools serving greater numbers of students of color had significantly fewer resources than schools serving mostly white students.
As William L. Taylor and Dianne Piche noted in a report to Congress: Inequitable systems of school finance inflict disproportionate harm on minority and economically disadvantaged students. On an inter-state basis, such students are concentrated in states, primarily in the South, that have the lowest capacities to finance public education. On an intra-state basis, many of the states with the widest disparities in educational expenditures are large industrial states.
In these states, many minorities and economically disadvantaged students are located in property-poor urban districts which fare the worst in educational expenditures or in rural districts which suffer from fiscal inequity. Jonathan Kozol s Savage Inequalities described the striking differences between public schools serving students of color in urban settings and their suburban counterparts, which typically spend twice as much per student for populations with many fewer special needs. Contrast MacKenzie High School in Detroit, where word processing courses are taught without word processors because the school cannot afford them, or East St.
Louis Senior High School, whose biology lab has no laboratory tables or usable dissecting kits, with nearby suburban schools where children enjoy a computer hookup to Dow Jones to study stock transactions and science laboratories that rival those in some industries. Or contrast Paterson, New Jersey, which could not afford the qualified teachers needed to offer foreign language courses to most high school students, with Princeton, where foreign languages begin in elementary school. L Linda Darling-Hammond. Even within urban school districts, schools with high concentrations of low-income and minority students receive fewer instructional resources than others.
And tracking systems exacerbate these inequalities by segregating many low-income and minority students within schools. In combination, these policies leave minority students with fewer and lower-quality books, curriculum materials, laboratories, and computers; significantly larger class sizes; less qualified and experienced teachers; and less access to high-quality curriculum. Many schools serving low-income and minority students do not even offer the math and science courses needed for college, and they provide lower-quality teaching in the classes they do offer. It all adds up.
Since the Coleman report, Equality of Educational Opportunity, another debate has waged as to whether money makes a difference to educational outcomes. It is certainly possible to spend money ineffectively; however, studies that have developed more sophisticated measures of schooling show how money, properly spent, makes a difference. Over the past 30 years, a large body of research has shown that four factors consistently influence student achievement: all else equal, students perform better if they are educated in smaller schools where they are well known to students is optimal , have smaller class sizes especially at the elementary level , receive a challenging curriculum, and have more highly qualified teachers.
Minority students are much less likely than white children to have any of these resources. In predominantly minority schools, which most students of color attend, schools are large on average, more than twice as large as predominantly white schools and reaching 3, students or more in most cities ; on average, class sizes are 15 percent larger overall 80 percent larger for non-special education classes ; curriculum offerings and materials are lower in quality; and teachers are much less qualified in terms of levels of education, certification, and training in the fields they teach.
After controlling for socioeconomic status, the large disparities in achievement between black and white students were almost entirely due to differences in the qualifications of their teachers. In combination, differences in teacher expertise and class sizes accounted for as much of the measured variance in achievement as did student and family background figure 1. Ferguson and Duke economist Helen Ladd repeated this analysis in Alabama and again found sizable influences of teacher qualifications and smaller class sizes on achievement gains in math and reading. They found that more of the difference between the high- and low-scoring districts was explained by teacher qualifications and class sizes than by poverty, race, and parent education.
Meanwhile, a Tennessee study found that elementary school students who are assigned to ineffective teachers for three years in a row score nearly 50 percentile points lower on achievement tests than those assigned to highly effective teachers over the same period. Strikingly, minority students are about half as likely to be assigned to the most effective teachers and twice as likely to be assigned to the least effective. Minority students are put at greatest risk by the American tradition of allowing enormous variation in the qualifications of teachers.
Students in poor or predominantly minority schools are much less likely to have teachers who are fully qualified or hold higher-level degrees. In schools with the highest minority enrollments, for example, students have less than a 50 percent chance of getting a math or science teacher with a license and a degree in the field. In , fully one-third of teachers in high-poverty schools taught without a minor in their main field and nearly 70 percent taught without a minor in their secondary teaching field. Studies of underprepared teachers consistently find that they are less effective with students and that they have difficulty with curriculum development, classroom management, student motivation, and teaching strategies.
Science and engineering majors are more likely to stay in a career related to their field of study than other majors. They are also the least likely to say that another major would have better prepared them for the jobs they really desired. College grads are happier and healthier overall. Those with college degrees have better health, exercise more, and smoke less. College educated people also volunteer and vote more , creating a great addition to their communities. How has your degree helped you? First name. Top Nav. The 7 Benefits of Going to College. Self-paced Online College Courses and Degrees.
You might also like. Read More. Take the next step toward your future with online learning. Top Ten. Regional vs. Top 15 Community Colleges in California. Subscribe to our Newsletter.Is it unrealistic? Taylor The Benefits Of The College Tuition Unfair To Some People Dianne Piche noted in a report to Congress: Inequitable The Benefits Of The College Tuition Unfair To Some People of school finance A Heros Journey Research Paper disproportionate harm on minority and economically disadvantaged students. But budget hawks should know that making all public colleges The Benefits Of The College Tuition Unfair To Some People could be relatively inexpensive — ugly duckling chicken little even revenue-neutral — if this initiative replaced other The Benefits Of The College Tuition Unfair To Some People programs. Over 8 million people attend community colleges inand that number has been growing.