Sunday, February 10, 2013

Teach for Equality

Today our teacher, Mr. O'Connor, wrote a new post entitled Proclaiming Emancipation, Part II which questions whether or not the US has seen more racial equality since the Civil Rights Movement. Last week, many of our class's Civil War Reconstruction projects entailed plans for education reform, as argued that equal education brings more societal equality as well. 

Imani Perry of the Washington Post wrote that "[African Americans] face the highest rates of unemployment and incarceration, and have alarmingly low high school graduation rates in major cities." The Progressive also released that, "A mere 11 percent of black students were proficient in math, as opposed to 50 percent of Asians, and 42 percent of whites." 

While this inequality continues to hold Blacks captive, along with income disparities and shockingly high incarceration rates as shown by Perry, there are implications of racially unequal education system that cause the U.S to struggle in the world economy. According to a study from the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, U.S. students lag behind many other countries in math and reading skills. African-American and Latino students, in particular, are falling way behind. The US could have both smarter students overall, as well as a higher GDP growth which could translate into "an additional $1 trillion in the economy each year", the study said.

If the US wants to live up to its fullest economic potential, it clearly needs to figure a way to bring not only the academic proficiencies of minorities higher, but for white students too. This, I believe would create a more sound education system, better preparing our students for an advancing job market, and increase academic competition internationally. Now it's your turn. Do you think an improved education system would better our country with racial equality? I wonder whether these steps would also bring down unemployment among African Americans and reduce incarceration rates. Also please consider the question: Is education really the way to go, or should we target other areas? Please share your thoughts below.

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