Fixing the Problem with Integration in Schools

In 1957 the Little Rock Nine were enrolled in a segregated “whites only” public school in Arkansas. They fought to break school segregation and help minorities equal educational opportunities. They were among the first African American students to receive the same quality and level of education as white students. Their efforts did help to integrate schools, but today minority students still have fewer opportunities than white students. African American students are 20% less likely to graduate from high school and go on to have a family and a full time job; and those whom are able to continue on to college are 23% less likely to graduate in six years. The race gap is still present as students reach college. Schools in areas where the majority of students are minorities have smaller budgets that do not allow for students to have access to the best resources. The spending on students needs to increase in areas of lower socioeconomic standing. Through tax and other systematic reforms, we will be able to help minority students have educational success at higher rates.

Minorities have consistently received less of everything. Educational inequality is one of the largest problems facing minorities today. The lack of resources stunts their ability to achieve at the same rates as non-minorities, thus making the socioeconomic gap larger and makes it way harder for them to catch up. The predetermined fate of minorities is systematic, and it’s caused by discrimination in their access to educational resources.

Look at New York City for example. New York City is home to 8.4 million people and is one of the most racially diverse areas in America, and consists of a lot of minorities. Despite how diverse the area is, the schools are not as integrated as you would think. Most of the “big money” in New York stays in the Upper East Side. This is the home of many generally wealthy people. The Upper East Side is thriving financially, quite unlike Harlem, which is one of the ghettoes. The Upper East Side has more money flowing in their economy, and has more money to spend on education and school budgets. There is more money circulating in education taxes on the Upper East Side than there is in Harlem, which plays a role in the lower educational success in these ghettoes.

A solution to the lack of financial stimulation in education for minority students would be to propose a higher school budget among towns and cities with many minority students. The Department of Education needs to reallocate funds that they stripped from schools into new programs and ideas that will help students to achieve. With increased funding through taxes and budget and spending reforms, we could create a more stable learning environment with more qualified professionals.

The big question regarding this solution is where is the money coming from. One suggestion to this would be to bring in funding from an outside source, but even still this is unrealistic. Outside funding would be from alumni donations or by bringing in tax money from other areas with residents who are more affluent. The problem with this concept is that alumni of struggling schools are most likely not succeeding at the level where they can donate funds to their alma mater district. This brings us back to outside funding, but humans tend to be selfish, and wouldn’t want to pay for benefits that they are not seeing for themselves.

Another solution is to dissolve the poorer school districts, and divide the students in lower socioeconomic standings into the surrounding local districts to force the integration. This would lead to equal opportunities for students to receive a proper education. Students wouldn’t have to worry about a lack of high-level classes, tutors, or other college prep essentials. Everyone in the district would share the resources and share the wealth.

Reform in the integration of schools is extremely necessary at this point in time. An article published on Frontline states that “the progress achieved in the last 46 years on this measure of segregation is gone”. We are in desperate need of educational reform for these minority students. The biggest divide seen is the divide between students of color, and white students. A study found that black and Latino students normally attend schools with two times the amount of poverty as white and Asian students.

The number of benefits that were found for the minority students have also been found for the non-minority students as well. Studies have proven that students whom attend a school with a racially diverse population are likely to succeed at a higher rate in both socially and psychologically. If students can learn to coexist with people who look and act differently than them, this will help them later in life seeing as the United States is becoming more and more diverse as they years go by. Students should learn from a young age to not have racial bias or prejudice. More integrated schools create environments where students learn to see other culture’s ways of doing things, which can improve their critical thinking, logic, and reasoning skills. These added benefits might not be seen as clearly as the increased test scores; but that does not mean that they are not there and that they are not valid benefits.

By reforming integration in schools, you’re helping every student to become better prepared for life and better educated. History has proven that separate is not always equal. By separating students through socioeconomic standings, they are being set up to fail later in life. Bringing together diverse student populations will bring in benefits for communities as a whole. By increasing the per capita spending on students in public schools, we can provide equal quality educations.