Equality and Segregation in the Los Angeles School District
Attending college is thought to be part of pursuing the American Dream for many people in the United States. People believe that this is an important step in your life because education will lead you to a high paying career and a stable financial future. However does every student in America have the same opportunities to go to college? We are introduced to school in Kindergarten some us even sooner such as daycare or preschool. There we learned the basics of what are the social norms in school and to apply them to our lifelong years of learning. A major issue within the sociology of education is equality and segregation. Education is an important institution in our society because it provides children with many opportunities and resources. However education crashes with social class and it tends to create inequalities for children, also social inequality also consist of gender and ethnicity which is the result of unequal opportunities.
In this paper, I will address the major problem of equality in sociology of education by emphasizing on on ranging from race, gender, class, and disability. I grew up and went to school near the San fernando valley in a city named, Van Nuys which belongs to the Los Angele District. I grew up with both my parents who are Mexican, and my one and only youngest brother. Both my parents immigrated to the United states at a very young age and attended school in Los Angeles. I was raised to respect everyone no matter what they look like or where they come from, however they never mentioned to me how hard it would be to grow up in a different social class from others. The school system in The United States remains racially segregated by race and class for many reasons. While some schools are segregated to pursue social justice and provide a better education for students of color, some schools are segregated due to lack of funding or resources. In the 2nd grade my parents decided to move me to a magnet school, my first day was the hardest. The school was much more diverse than my old school and the children were very different. All my new friends were wealthy and their parents were doctors, lawyers, etc. my parents on the other hand are in the middle class so it was very difficult for me to adjust to the change. The reading on Brown at 62: School Segregation by Race, Poverty and State,I learned the idea of segregated schools were not “equal in quality” and Brown v. Board declared public school must integrate. Brown v. Board of education was all about being treated equal in a society that claims blacks were treated equal when they really weren’t. This case made many realize that separate but equal did not work.
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Based on the article, We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. Change provides data to see how the Los Angeles Unified School District would look like if everyone went to the nearest school. The results show areas with the population being mostly all hispanics, on the other hand how they are zoned now shows a population of blacks and hispanics. I think this is very accurate Eventually, in middle school I moved back to a school closer to my neighborhood which was a non diverse school, it consisted of a high population of hispanic students because of the area I lived in. Based on National Center for Education Statistics: Basic School Search I was able to search my middle/high school “Robert Fulton College Preparatory” this resource provides basic demographic information on schools and school districts and based on the data there are 1,632 students enrolled and 1,461 of the students are hispanic. Another interesting data given by this site was the amount of student who are eligible for free lunch which are 1,322 and the students remaining are those eligible for reduced price lunch. This tells me that the population of students in my high school are considered low to middle class income.
This is a complex subject, racially segregated areas exist for many reasons. Some schools in LA and other large urban areas now offer African-American history, Latino studies and courses in US racial history in an effort to combat the racism pervasive in our schools and curriculum. While some schools are segregated to pursue social justice and provide a better education for students of color, some schools are segregated due to lack of funding or resources.
According to another reading, Bad Boys Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity, Ferguson states, Since these rooms involved more routinized work and a heightened surveillance rather than an enriching compensatory program, it seemed unlikely that they would develop the skills to catch up with the “norm” for their age grade. (Ferguson,2001) This confuses me because it’s true these students from my high school had about 5 teachers and staff in the same classroom watching over these students helping them with their homework, tutoring, etc. and even though they received all this attention why were they not succeeding and catching up with the norm of students their age. I then later realized that it was a special education class because of several peers that were in the program. They were placing the students with low test scores and bad grades in these classes. Many assume that Special Ed students definitely have behavioural issues but this is not the case. Some learning or intellectual disabilities mean at times, kids can get frustrated or anxious about certain things but it does not mean that the kids themselves are bad or poor-performing. I think it’s unfair that these students were placed in these classes because they were just taking advantage of the level of education given they didn’t care about learning they were taking the attention of the actual students with disabilities. This examples demonstrates how our public education system is failing our children. Students are often expected to study in environments where they fear for their safety or lack resources such as computers or textbooks.
The last reading I found very connected to was, The Long Beach Miracle simply because I can relate to these students since I grew up in a non diverse school with not many resources. I am a first generation college student and in high school I did everything possible to get the most help I could get because I knew my parents didn’t have the information to give me only their full support. The article says, “The goal of the tour was to make these fourth graders—many of whom come from families with no history of going to college—comfortable with the notion that they could earn a college degree, whether or not their parents did, as long as they’re willing to work for it.” I enjoyed reading this article because I felt hopeless in high school since most of my friends had no motivation in going to college and when I found the right people and programs I was able to take field trips to different campuses and get the information I needed. Ever since middle school I was in AVID and they provided tours in different campuses which motivates us more to stay focused to meet the requirements of attending college. Towards the end of the article it mentions, “College students in Long Beach also said they felt like someone had their back. Martinez-Munoz, the tour guide from Long Beach City College who is now a junior at UCLA, said she felt “important” and “not alone”.” I think this is absolutely true, although most schools are segregated and we are seen and treated as unequal as others perhaps these programs help students improve in college attendance rates.
To conclude, These readings address different ways of how schools are segregated and result in inequality based on race, gender, class, and disability. The education system in Los Angeles and its student population remains segregated by race and class. The inequalities in my school district not only result in just poorly managed schools but they also reflect the racial inequalities entirely. The less funding the school has then the less resources these students are exposed to and since the community is funded through local property taxes then that explains why these schools are not equal to higher class community schools. Perhaps programs can help these students succeed and get the resources they need in order to go to college. It’s not only about the resources it’s also about the motivation these students need not all of them have parents who know what the benefits of an education is in the U.S. Overall, I think Diverse schools have a good influence on all students such as being comfortable with diversity, reduces prejudices and stereotypes and helps them succeed in the real world.”