The right to education and quality of education has always been a hot button topic for politics in the United States. Initiatives to increase educational spending are often included on ballots, but unfortunately school budgets still often cut to allocate money to other projects like national defense, public works, and homelessness. These cuts in budget have a profound effect on the quality of education because it limits spending on sports programs, art and music programs, and quality teachers. All of these limitations can cause a decrease in academic performance and overall quality of life for children in schools. All of these negative consequences are heightened in poor communities that often have predominantly black and Hispanic students. The disparity in quality of education for black and Hispanic students increasingly worsens, but lack of funding and political support further these disparities. As a result, many black and Hispanic students experience a decline in academic performance which can lead to a poor academic self-concept. According to Gruman, Schneider, and Coutts (2017), the academic performance of students is influenced by their own perceptions of their capabilities. For example, if a black or Hispanic student starts to fail math or science because there is a lack of funding to support good teachers, the student may attribute his or her academic downfall on their inability to understand the concepts of mathematics and science and not on the lack of quality education.
There is a lot of research that indicates there are racial and economic disparities in education that predominantly impacts blacks and Hispanics. According to NBC news, students who do not have a free lunch program score 37 points higher on a reading test in comparison to students who did receive free lunches (2018). This shows that more affluent neighborhoods that do not need to participate in free lunch programs on average perform better in comparison to less affluent neighborhoods. This is not surprising because many students who need free lunches are battling a lot more difficulties than just focusing on academics like poverty, homelessness, violence, and family issues. According to Washington Post, black students are more likely than white students to be arrested, suspended, and expelled (2019). Instead of getting increased support to battle these difficulties, blacks and Hispanics are often given harsh discipline which only further their failures. In a surprising study, in comparison to white neighborhoods, school districts predominantly with non-white students receive $23 billion less in education funding (Gunn, 2019). Much of this disparity can be attributed to the lack of tax revenue that is generated from these poor neighborhoods, but there is also a lack of state and federal policy that limits these disparities from worsening.
There needs to be more state and federal involvement in the betterment of school districts across the country, but especially in neighborhoods where there is a significant economic and racial divide. Lack of quality teachers, absence of art and music programs, and lack of quality educational materials limit the success of poor students who otherwise would prosper with different circumstances. More social awareness about these disparities could encourage others including politicians to take action in improving the overall quality of the educational system for black and Hispanic students. Much of the struggles of blacks and Hispanics can be attributed to lack of education and opportunities so if any major change for equality is to be made it should first start in the classroom.
Balingit, M. (2019, August 16). Racial disparities in school discipline are growing, federal data show. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/racial-disparities-in-school-discipline-are-growing-federal-data-shows/2018/04/24/67b5d2b8-47e4-11e8-827e-190efaf1f1ee_story.html.
Gunn, D. (2019, February 26). Non-White School Districts Get $23 Billion Less Funding Than White Ones. Retrieved from https://psmag.com/education/nonwhite-school-districts-get-23-billion-less-funding-than-white-ones.
Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (2017). Applied social psychology: understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.
Jao, A. (2018). Segregation, school funding inequalities still punishing Black, Latino students. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/segregation-school-funding-inequalities-still-punishing-black-latino-students-n837186.