Haley Scholars Fall 2012 Reading Groups
By Chandra Alford
In the second half of chapter 2, the authors explore the concept of understanding inequality in learning. The statistics in the CLA report reveal that within the first two years of college, there is a major gap in the performance of students from different racial/ethnic backgrounds. Inequality in academic preparation is the claim the authors are making to explain and understand the growing gap in performance between white students and ethnic minorities when it come to applying critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing skills.
According to the authors, “Equalizing academic preparation between African-American and white students is thus a necessary but not sufficient condition for equalizing their growth in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills during the first two years in college” (50). The authors address an important point here, because they are implying there is more to this problem than what is address by school administrators and government officials.
The inequality in academic preparation may exist due to the structure of the class system in this country, which does not equalize the access to resources to those who are low-income. Consequently, a disproportionate number of African American students reside in low-income areas.
How does the idea of "equalizing academic preparation" or even the idea of "unequal academic preparation" affect your view of high school and collegiate education and success?
These Ideas about equal and unequal academic preparation don't really affect or change my views on college, high school, or success. Though, I do believe that academic preparation throughout the different ethnic groups should be equivalent and some actions should be taken in order to accomplish this, I also believe that one has to have the want and desire to succeed. I must also say that a lot of these statistics and discoveries do not surprise me.
In high school, I took a lot of advanced placement courses and I always remember there never being more than 2 or 3 black people in any of those classes. Whereas my homeroom, and regular courses were very diverse.
It is true that everyone should get the same learning experience, but when the opportunity for a better learning experience is laid out in front of you and you take the easy route, it is your own fault that you fall behind. I had a lot of friends in high school, who had the intelligence and capability to excel in advanced placement courses but they stuck with the other courses because they wanted an "easy A".
So the idea of "unequal acadenmic preparation" frustrates me more than anything because I attended a very diverse high school (48% white and 52% minority) and a lot of the minority kids chose not to adequately prepare themselves. I find one of the biggest disappointments is to be filled with potential but never allow it to develop into more.
I agree that there is an issue with inequality in education. However, I think the reasons go back way before high school. I think that the problem starts in elementary school. Too often minorities are swept through the cracks and passed to the next grade without really knowing the material. The problem is that they do not have the basic educational foundation to succeed in higher levels of schooling. In order to fix this problem, I think we need to start getting kids interested and involved in their classwork at a younger age.
I have noticed, specifically in college, the difference in education with whites and minorities. While I have noticed a difference, I do not think it should be an excuse.
I understand that some schools offer more opportunities then others. But to succeed in anything takes effort. I came from a high school that was very small and I did not have to put much effort into receiving good grades. Coming into college was a huge wake up to me. I had to apply myself even if I was not fully prepared.
While some minorities may have lacked opportunity, students should still take ownership for their academic career. I think this culture is focused on pointing the finger at everyone but ourselves. We need to take responsibilities for our actions. If people want to succeed in college then put in the work to do so.
Although high-school education is easily obtainable, a quality education is not. Education restrictions and constraints are placed and based upon class and status. Low income households normally have less access to quality resources such as; qualified teachers, books, and funding. Success must be viewed on a broad scale. Society continues to assume a color-blind world. Although real life circumstances continue to prove otherwise, educational constraints can limit a person’s success.
Therefore understanding the origin of social structure in my opinion should be society’s goal. The origin of inequality is not just in academia, but it is in race, class status, jobs, and throughout history, which in turn affects education. In order to fix an academic problem society must make acknowledgement of a broader problem. There is a great imbalance in high-school education. Funding for low income areas are not afforded proper academic preparation for college. In turn we breed a society of cognitive segregating individuals that place more value on material gain than human betterment.
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