g., a magnet school), and also in terms of the various percentages of whites; African-Americans; Asians; and Latino (a)s attending each high school. According to Solorzano and Ornelas (Feb/Mar 2004) their study of advanced placement high school enrollment trends among minority students was driven by their desire for clearer answers to several key questions about equal access to educational opportunities for minority students and white students alike within various Los Angeles public high schools.
The questions the authors sought answers to in their study were the following:
How do school structures, practices, and discourses help maintain racial and ethnic discrimination in access to AP courses? How do Latina/o and African-American students and parents respond to the educational structures, practices, and discourses that help maintain racial and ethnic discrimination in access to AP courses? Finally, how can school reforms help end racial and ethnic discrimination in access to AP courses? (p. 1)
As a result of their research the authors found that: (1) Latina/o students were disproportionately underrepresented in AP courses throughout the district; (2) students serving low-income Latina/o and African-American communities have low AP course enrollments; and (3) even in schools with very high overall AP course enrollments, enrollments in such courses of Latina/o and African-American students in particular are disproportionately low (Solorzano and Ornelas).
These findings are especially important because, as these authors further observe: "Advanced Placement (AP) courses [are] one of the curricular options that impact college admissions" (p. 2). As the research done by Solorzano and Ornelas also implicitly suggests, racism in education need not take a direct form or be overt, obvious, or even intended. Instead, such racism can come in the form of counselors' not telling minority students about college preparation opportunities (like Advanced Placement and other college-level or college preparatory courses available on campus); recruitment visits from Ivy League or other college recruiters; scholarship opportunities, or even important test dates.
In the future it will become more important than ever to discover new ways to continue eradicating the stubborn barriers to minority student equal educational access and opportunity that survive and in many areas of the United States thrive even today in 21st century America. As Beswick further states:
It is not just the condescension and violence exhibited toward minorities that must be taken into account when looking at incidents of racism. Restrictions on minorities' opportunity to succeed are often racially determined. For example, Asian-Americans incur resentment for academic excellence and overachieving." If racism is explicit at the street level of society, it is often implicit and equally entrenched at the highest levels. ("Racism in America's
Twenty-first century racism, then, although more diverse than back when it was aimed mostly if not entirely at blacks; and more covert than it was before today's attitudes about 'political correctness became widespread' is not much different, fundamentally, than racism within education has been in the past. In the future it will become more important than ever to discover new ways to continue eradicating the stubborn barriers to minority student equal educational access and opportunity, which are at once causes and effects of racism that survive and even thrive in too many areas of 21st century America.
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