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segregation in the American society has been a subject for debate for decades now, especially since the second part of the 20th century when the African-American community in particular gained equal rights in the society, from the right to vote to the right to learn in the same schools, high schools, and universities. However, this equality has been fought for hardly and included constant pressures on the political and civil societies. Even so, despite these rights gained through decades of struggle, to this day, there is still the perception that segregation is visible in different walks of life. One of the most important environments where segregation is still visible is in schools (Cooper 4). This is not to say that only African-Americans are subject to indirect segregation. According to recent reports, "In spite of declining residential segregation for black families and large-scale movement to the suburbs in most parts of the country, school segregation remains very high for black students. It is also double segregation by both race and poverty." (The Civil Rights Project, 2012, p7) Therefore, segregation affects all levels of the society and depends on race, color, minority group, ethnicity, and income among other criteria.
The issue of segregation in schools starts from an early age and tends to affect children since the beginning of enrollment. Studies conducted have shown that there are several stages in the process of acquiring segregation identity in schools. More precisely, according to William Cross, children experience a sense of developing race identity as they experience the same environment and the same racial groups (1992). In this sense, the fact that black children tend to learn in a black- majority environment, a certain sense of belonging to a particular racial group is developed since the early stages of becoming aware of their racial identity. Thus, children experiencing the same racial group tend to develop self-awareness in terms of racial differences (Cross, 1992).
Many schools available in areas where black individuals are the majority have been reported as being of a lower quality in comparison to other educational institutes. "The inferior education provided to black children is argued to have caused lower levels of human capital production in black schools than white schools" (Orazem, 714). While there is limited data concerning the effects that these schools have on black people, it is only safe to say that they are seriously affected as a result of attending educational institutes that express little to no interest in their general well-being.
With due account for the identity that is created in these early learning stages, it is rather difficult to ensure a leveled perception of the other race inside a community in particular because the stages of pre-school and elementary school are usually determinant for providing children with a sense of belonging to one group or another and to becoming aware of different other groups (Tatum, 2003). Should a racial segregation take place at these early stages, it would most likely affect the way groups perceive each other and in particular the mere perception of group and not a community is negative for the eventual evolution of the individual in the adult life. It is considered that during puberty racial stereotypes develop and a biased attitude is set in motion, one that is further perpetuated as the individual grows up (Tatum, 2003).
The segregation in schools is still a determinant factor at the level of the pre-school education largely due to the fact that there are a limited number of trained educators in the area of racial issues (Tatum, 2003). More precisely, "many educators are unskilled at talking about racial issues. Many teachers have had limited possibility to explore such issues in their own education, and they hesitate to lead discussions about racial tensions for fear that they will generate classroom conflicts (Tatum, 2003)." That is to say that the role of teachers that are aware of the segregation risks especially in preschool is essential in providing children with a positive approach towards what it means to be different and the positive elements of being in touch with elements of other cultures and communities. At this point, "schools with mostly minority and poor students were likely to have fewer resources, less assertive parent groups and less experienced teachers." (Rich, 2012) A change in the situation would be a better means through which the issue of segregation would be tackled at the level of preschool.
Another aspect that is extremely important to note and one which clearly affects the way in which segregation is propelled in schools is related to the reluctancy of teachers to actually attend to schools that are either made of a majority of low income students or that become from different ethnic and racial groups. More precisely, "Teachers would be reluctant to take assignments in high-poverty, high-minority communities, he said. "And you're going to be at risk of being blamed for not increasing test scores as quickly as might be experienced in a suburban, more affluent area," (Rich, 2012) From one point-of-view this can be considered as being a deprivation of students from being provided a proper education which is in fact a clear infringement of their rights. On the other hand however, there is little that can be done to provide all students and children with the best education possible seeing that there are different levels of teachers and professors. Even so, given that it is common practice for well prepared professors to chose an upper standard school to teach in, in low income schools, teachers may be less motivated to provide the best assistance possible, especially in terms of actually counseling students on segregation, regardless of type.
These aspects have greatly affected certain groups of students and in particular the Latin Americans. Recent studies have been conducted and it has been noted "concentration trends for Latino students became substantially more severe than for black students around 1991, likely reflecting both the massive growth of many Latino communities and the fact that most desegregation plans did not expressly include Latino students. The share of Latino students attending intensely segregated minority schools has increased steadily over the past four decades" (The Civil Rights Project, 2012). This is a crucial aspect in the way in which the evolution of segregation can be quantified. More precisely, the Latin Americans have become somewhat the new African-Americans in the sense that they now encounter similar problems as the African-Americans in the 1960s. However, despite potential similarities, there is a clear difference in terms of the legal framework in which the Latin Americans are today. Still, there are clear figures that reveal the dramatic situation in terms of segregation for Latin American students.
Voices from the Obama Administration argue that constant improvements have been made to insure that the gap in terms of segregation attitudes and behavior is reduced. In this sense for instance, officials argue "the Obama administration had taken "historic steps to transform the schools that for too long have shortchanged the full potential of our young people and have been unsuccessful in providing the necessary resources and protections for students most at risk." (Rich, 2012) From this point-of-view, there have been increased scholarship programs that have targeted the low-income students that proved their potential in academic work. Yet, even so, it is rather hard to consider a hypothetical example in which positive discrimination would be possible in state of the art universities or renewed academic institutions. The reason for which elite schools exist is particularly to provide elites in different areas of research and related. However, in order to have the opportunity to study to such an elite university, the student should have the sufficient financial back up to apply, to be admitted, and to ensure a decent living for himself. Such achievements in the lives of the Latin American community are most likely little to happen. Yet, even so, there are scholarship programs that, despite the fact that they are reduced in numbers, offer the possibility to a limited number of applicants to have a change of learning in such a cosmopolite environment such as MIT or Princeton.
Despite the fact that there are certain support programs that may advise young adults on a career path or academic development, the reality on the field as presented in recent reports shows that the segregation, even in terms of percentages, has dramatically increased, especially in the Latin American lines. In this sense, "In Nevada, the average Latino attended school with 84% of white classmates in 1970, compared to 29% in 2009." (The Civil Rights Project, 2012,) This clearly points out a degradation of even the status quo in the decades when there were different schools for white and black people. Following the Supreme Court decision on the case of "Brown v. The Board of Education in which the rule of "separate but equal" applied and the separate schools for black and white students were allowed and legal, the mixed schools became a rather common practice…[continue]
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