Living in Two Worlds Confronting Poverty, Equity, & Justice Issues Created by Dr. Raymond Lee
When you move to a new town, how do you: What is the ―right‖ neighborhood? • Find a house • Education level? • Make friends • Income? • Select a school • Occupation? • Select a church • Other? • Socialize
Socio-Political Context of Education• Conditions, laws, regulatio ns, policies, practices, trad itions, and ideologies that influence and define education at any given time
Inequity in Schools • High poverty schools – Many teachers unlicensed in the subjects they teach – Limited technology access, inadequate facilities – Inoperative rest rooms – Vermin infestation – Insufficient materials – Multiple teacher vacancies – Less rigorous curricula – Employ fewer experienced teachers – Higher student-to-teacher ratios – Lower teacher salaries – Larger class sizes – Receive less fundingBarton, P.E. (2004). Why does the gap persist? Educational Leadership 62(3), 8-13.Barton, P.E. (2003). Parsing the achievement gap: Baselines for tracking progress. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.Carey, K. (2005). The funding gap 2004: Many states still shortchange low-income and minority students. Washington, D.C.: The Education Trust.Karoly, L.A. (2001). Investing in the future: Reducing poverty through human capital investiments. In S. Danzinger & R. Haveman (Eds.), Understanding poverty (pp. 314-356). New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Kozol, J. (1992). Savage inequalities: Children in America’s schools. New York, NY: HarperCollins.National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (2004). Fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education: A two-tiered education system. Washington, D.C.: Author.Rank, M.R. (2004). One nation, underprivileged: Why American poverty affects us all. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Is any of these considered the“norm” or measure of the “natural”state of society?
Possible Underlying Reasons for the Achievement Gap • Cultural capital (middle class and poverty) – Middle class children have vocabularies two to three times larger than low-income children, are praised more often, have significantly more non-school learning opportunities, move much less often, and have much lower rates of asthma, vision, and hearing problems. • Language • ―Acting White‖ • Home environment • Ethos of various cultures and sub-cultures • Individuals’ propensities and talents • High poverty schools’ characteristics • Teaching environment and competencies • Students fail to see themselves as being socially mobile and having opportunity with education (classism – social injustice) • What about middle class minority students’ performance?Source: Class and Schools by Richard Rothstein
Interpretive Frameworks for Understanding the Achievement Gap • Socioeconomic Model • Legacy of slavery and other forms of oppression that Blacks have suffered • Achievement correlates more strongly with economic status than with any other single variable • Sociopathological Model • While history cannot be minimized, the effects of civil rights legislation has removed legal roadblocks to black advancement. • Therefore, various social pathologies within the Black community must be at fault. • Genetic Model • Biological disparity based on race • Murray & Herrnstein’s The Bell Curve (1994) • Little evidence to support this modelSource: Class and Schools by Richard Rothstein
Fordham’s Research and Black Students’ Views of Achievement• ―Acting white‖ – Adopt values and behaviors of the white-dominated establishment as a temporary strategy for the long-term benefit of the black community• Found young black people see success of black ―pioneers‖ did not breed widespread success. – See strategy of using individual success to lead to community success as a fatally flawed one – Replaced with a ―stick together and advance together‖ strategy maintaining ethnic identities (avoid ―acting white‖)• Presents dilemma for higher achieving Black students. – Relationships and identity versus achievement – Many adopt ―racelessness‖ strategy • Behave in a race-neutral manner so as not to draw attention to themselves • Study alone or in secret (pattern of isolated study)
Steele’s Research on ―Stereotype Threat‖• What contributes to poor academic performance by Black students? – Stereotype threat affects performance when students labor under performance standards which may be perceived to measure academic abilities. – Applies to other comparisons such as gender, whites, and Asians.
Social Mobility and Education• Wages and earnings tend to correlate with the amount of education a person has obtained. – Less than a high school diploma earned a median income of $21,000 (2003) – Four year college degree earned a median income of $53,000 (2003) – James 2005• White collar jobs require more human capital and knowledge and therefore produce higher earnings and require greater education. – Education is a primary determinant for social mobility in American society.
“The rich are different from you and me.”F. Scott Fitzgerald Ernest Hemingway “Yes. They have more money.”
―It is impossible to understand peoples behavior...without the concept ofsocial stratification, because class position has a pervasive influence onalmost everything...the clothes we wear...the television shows wewatch...the colors we paint our homes in and the names we give ourpets... Our position in the social hierarchy affects ourhealth, happiness, and even how long we will live. ‖ —William Thompson, Joseph Hickey, Society in Focus, 2005 ―A stratified society is one marked by inequality, by differences among people that are regarded as being higher or lower...it is logically possible for a society to be stratified in a continuous gradation between high and low without any sharp lines...in reality...there is only a limited number of types of occupations... People in similar positions...grow similar in their thinking and lifestyle...they form a pattern, and this pattern creates social class.‖ —Dennis Gilbert, The American Class Structure, 1998[
References: Gilbert, D. (2002) The American Class Structure: In An Age of Growing Inequality. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth; Thompson, W. & Hickey, J. (2005). Society in Focus. Boston, MA: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon;Beeghley, L. (2004). The Structure of Social Stratification in the United States. Boston, MA: Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.1 The upper middle class may also be referred to as "Professional class" Ehrenreich, B. (1989). The Inner Life of the Middle Class. NY, NY: Harper-Colins.
Educational attainment is related to both occupation, as seen above, and income. This graph shows the educational attainment of individuals age 25-64, employed full-time, by occupational field"U.S. Census Bureau report on educational attainment in the United States, 2003".http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-550.pdf. Retrieved 2006-07-31.
Social MobilitySocial ClassOccupationsEducation
Favored Values for Social Mobility• For the past 100 years: – Ambition – Economic foresight – Habits of industry – Verbal or mechanical intelligence• Are these still favored values?