The Inequality of Education

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

Gunn, D. (2019, February 26). Non-White School Districts Get $23 Billion Less Funding Than White Ones. Retrieved from

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



  1. I think that you have provided great insight on this subject and have highlighted a major issue that can often go overlooked in discussions about quality educational systems, or lack-there-of. As you mentioned, the way students perceive themselves academically can have a great impact on how they actually perform. There is a saying that goes “whether you believe you will succeed, or believe you will fail, you’re right.” I’m paraphrasing because I can’t remember the exact quote, but it applies to this situation. There are many students who are successful merely because they believe that they can be. However, there are also many other students who are not successful only because they don’t believe they can be. They may have the academic ability required to be successful but don’t think they do. This mindset could potentially be attributed to the lack of quality education received and play a major role in determining the outcome for these children. The fact that this leads to a vicious cycle only makes it worse. The school districts that perform the worst would likely receive the low budgets, less support, and lowest quality education. Unfortunately, this fact only results in continued poor performance. The self-concept of the students is definitely not something to be overlooked.

  2. nkm5181,

    While I appreciate your input, I do think that this viewpoint is a baseless opinion and not based on any research based evidence. I find it difficult to regard the black struggle as a product of laziness to avoid their welfare being taken away. Income and economic status is very much linked to race because many laws and policies that limited economic success for minorities were linked to race (slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, and of course lack of funding for public education). I believe that the mentality that diminishment of black success being caused by lack of drive in the black community is an outdated belief system. There are more factors working against those in poorer neighborhoods and minority groups than for those in more affluent white majority neighborhoods. I do agree that there is a lack of black community members in poorer neighborhoods who attend college and as a result it leads to academic self concept like I mentioned above. I think more equality for poor neighborhoods and minority groups will allow minority groups to have the same opportunities and advantages that will help counteract the poor self-concept that a lot of minority students face. I think income and economic status is coordinated with opportunity and racial disparities more than drive and statistics do reflect that (US Census Bureau, 2017; New York Times, 2017; US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).

    Badger, E. (2017, September 18). Whites Have Huge Wealth Edge Over Blacks (but Don’t Know It). Retrieved from

    US Bureau of Labor Statistics, R. A. (2018, May 1). Household income varies widely by race and ethnicity. Retrieved from

    US Census Bureau. (2019, April 16). Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017. Retrieved from

  3. Hello,
    Another way to look at the free lunch performance data is to consider the fact that people in wealthier neighborhoods have more of a desire to attend college. This level of thinking that if we give someone something for free they will work harder or benefit from the handout is outdated. Minority communities share a heard mentality, they often don’t have people who have went to college or make it seem possible to reach higher levels in life thus they are less motivated to seek those options out on their own. This type of logic takes me back to a debate I had with someone regarding welfare. Prior to welfare Black communities consisted of 2 parent households, mothers raising their children,fathers working or children working to help raise their parents out of poverty. Welfare incentivized Black people to not work too much or they would lose assistance. Not get married,or they would lose assistance,have more kids and work less they will get more “free” money. This mentality can be applied to school lunches and education. The fact that we use race to segregate ourselves and justify income or class differences is apart of the problem. Income and economic status is not always coordinated with race,its coordinated with drive and motivation.

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