They will in turn pass on that legacy to their own children. Since that is the general rule and principle, why does it affect persons of color more fiercely?
Persons of color are disproportionately represented in the low strata of the SE ladder. Amongst the poor persons of color have higher percentages and are more likely to exist in extreme poverty. Since SES determines where you live to a large extent, and where you live will determine the schools to which your children can attend. Then SES becomes a limiting factor because person whose household income is low will live in government housing and may be on some government support program. These persons will also have their children attend schools within these communities' schools where there is high teacher absenteeism, poor results on standardized testing and generally poor conditions (Lee, 2002). Again, in this regard persons of color are over represented. So that a being a person of color with low SES you are very likely to not have access to quality education and there is an exacerbation of an already trying situation.
A lot of heavy weather has been made of the effect and projected effect of the digital divide. The reference to the digital divide relates to access to the internet, computers and other communicative devices with a microchip. The movement of much of the course content onto the internet and its supporting structures ensures that there is a widening inequality between those who have access and those who do not. At its most basic the initial separation takes place at the level of access to the internet and cloud computing. There are schools where the students are given computers and have ready access to internet facilities. These facilities are in the main provided through some wireless form of access. These schools pride themselves of being on the cutting edge of learning.
Within the school itself a significant part of the curriculum is delivered through the internet and assignments are turned in through a similar manner using the resources of cloud computing. Textbooks are made available digitally and tutorials are managed online. The extent of online computing at schools is such that students who fail to have internet access at home are placed in a disadvantageous position and will be trailing their colleagues in the class. It is important to underscore that this is not a question of intelligence or mental agility. It is simply a question of access to internet services. Students who have will have an advantage over those who do not have.
The access to internet services is also a function of one SES. Persons of higher incomes are able to acquire the relevant technology to have in their homes. This complements what is done in the schools. The children of these persons live in a digital world while others are on the outside looking in. Since SES differentiates access to internet facilities and persons of color are, overrepresented in the lower strata they are more likely to not go to schools with a progressive computer integration program and not have access at home. These persons will experience reduced achievement in educational pursuits. The gap is therefore widened by the digital divide.
Teacher quality is another issue that facilitates the widening of the achievement gap. Teachers are the backbone of any education system. Teachers are critical to the success of the schools and the impartation of quality education. The teacher in the school system functions more than simply to impart knowledge but the teacher is a mentor and an inspiration to many students. At this first level of mentor and inspiration, there are fewer teachers of color than there should be given the numbers of persons of color in the population. Therefore, students of color attending schools have a limited number of role models. Additionally, white teachers who have had a complete different experience from their charges of color are not always sympathetic to the challenges of students of color. Weissglass (2006) posits that white teachers often misinterpret the concerns of students of color as illegitimate and consider the students overly sensitive (p.269). What this means is that the relationship between the teacher and the student is compromised and student confidence in the teacher may be limited thus stunting the desire by the student to perform as they are not receiving adequate inspiration from the teacher.
Teachers also contribute to the problem by being poor teachers. This means that the teachers are not adequately trained to deliver the curriculum in a manner that is consistent with high quality teaching. These teachers may pass the rigorous testing system to become a teacher but after a while may experience burnout and they are just in it for a paycheck. This burnout phenomenon is quite common in teachers who operate in high stress situations (Kyriacou, & Sutcliffe 1978). Inner city schools and schools in areas where there is a high population of persons of color have conditions that are highly conducive to teacher burnout. Consequently, the level and quality of the teaching that occurs at these institutions will widen the achievement divide. The students will not do well when compared to their cohorts at a national level and even statewide.
Parents have a comparable responsibility for the success of students in their school years. There are some specific concerns that affect families of color in a disproportionate manner that will create an additional ripple effect on the achievement gap. In single parent families that are of low SES, there is little time to attend to the issues of learning and schooling. This may not be a demonstration of a lack of concern but rather a clear indicator of the challenges of these parents to put food on the table. This need to survive causes many single parents in these strata to work multiple jobs and they are unavailable to assist in schooling activities. Many of these children are latch key children and are left unsupervised for significant periods. The children may often not attend school as frequently, and when they do attend, they are not actively engaged in the classroom activities.
Additionally, many parents because of their own educational level are unable to provide useful assistance to their children in understanding the work that they are doing in school. The requirements of the schoolwork may be beyond the ken of the parent so that when the child fails to grasp the concepts that are taught in the classroom they do not have home support to assist in understanding the concepts. This is further amplified by the parents not having the financial ability to provide extra professional assistance to the child through a system of tutors. Students need the advantage of extra tutoring (Haycock, 2001, p.9). This is the problem articulated through educational concerns. When one however considers that in many of these homes the situation is less than ideal where there may be fierce poverty and its attendant issues, inter-familial conflict, divorce issues, and other social and psychological challenges (Cohen, Garcia Apfel, &, Master, 2006). The students from these homes fare worse than students, from homes where these problems do not exist. Unfortunately in all these cases race becomes a factor because families of color are overrepresented in all of the aforementioned issues.
These factors have become virtually entrenched within the education system and an ossified social structure that the situation is almost intractable. There have been multiple conferences on education and many solutions yet the situation has progressed very little. The lack of progress on the achievement gap is a statement of the complexity of the problem. There are numerous factors and each is connected to other factors is an intricate web of connectedness that is not easily discerned.
Some of the attempts to resolve this challenge included the federal program tagged No Child Left Behind. This program was a laudable attempt to improve the standards of American schools and reduce the achievement gap. Through this program, multiple interventions were developed and deployed across the nation. The interventions sought to arrest the problem from the level of the pre-kindergarten right to high school. The programs included class size reduction, smaller schools, and a change in the focus and content of the curriculum. There were also discussion held on the question of assessment and evaluation of students and identifying mechanism that are more effective and have higher degrees of validity. An added component of the program was the teacher education facet designed to improve teacher performance and honor and reward best practices in the industry.
Despite all of these initiatives, the problem continues unabated. It is apparent that we are yet to discover the silver bullet that will put this problem to an end. This may be because it is practically impossible for persons of color to "catch up." The initial start that ensured that persons of color were behind educationally has created a lasting legacy. While specific individuals…