With the steady rise of racial tensions throughout the country, it’s becoming increasingly important for African-Americans to educate themselves on the issues surrounding these tensions. One of the most overlooked and pivotal issue that African-Americans need to be aware of is the discrepancies in the treatment and thoroughness of the educational experience
between ethnic majorities and people of color.
While education is seen as important to most people, the fact that a post-secondary education will be required by almost 75% of jobs in the country by 2020 makes it even more vital. With more jobs depending on a post-high school education, it’s important to attend and finish college. Unfortunately, Black teenagers aren’t being prepared in high school for the intensity of college. This will lead to an even bigger gap between races, both socially and economically.
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) recently released a study on what is wrong in the college readiness system for African American youth. The study looked at three areas where there were serious problems: prep courses, experienced teachers, and school counselors. It’s extremely important for people, especially African American parents and children, to recognize what these issues are, so they can do whatever possible to improve the situation.
Many high schools now days offer extensive and thorough preparatory courses for their upper class-men. These vary, but often focus on more advanced courses that will prepare the students for the overwhelming and vigorous work that will be expected of them in college. Unfortunately, these courses aren’t as readily available in schools with high minority populations. This sabotages the early chances of African American students and their success in college.
In high minority schools, there are also troubling trends seen in what teachers are provided or hired. More and more, these schools are being assigned to teachers who have just finished training or those who aren’t even certified. There is a steep learning curve for all teachers, and the fact that predominantly African American schools are being run by teachers who don’t have experience means they might not be receiving the level of teaching they deserve. This trend also leads to high turnover rates, which can disrupt learning even more.
Finally, the African American schools that do have school counselors, and a large portion do not, have counselors that are completely overwhelmed by their caseloads. Not only does this burn the counselor out faster, but it also leads to subpar services being provided for the students. And, being spread so thinly results in the counselors not having enough time to learn about the students, their families, and their cultures, which leads to more misunderstandings and stereotypes.
The discrepancies in different high schools can be extremely discouraging, especially for parents who don’t have many options on where to send their children. It’s extremely important to bring these issues to light in local and eventually national debates. Lawmakers need to understand that these are problems and that African American communities won’t stand for subpar education. In the meantime, parents can do what they can at home to help prepare their children for college. There are many supplemental courses offered online and some community colleges even offer prep classes for high school students. Every little effort counts.