FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Unequal Education

by JESSE JACKSON

The Department of Education just released its annual study on civil rights in our education system. The report, Attorney General Eric Holder summarized, “shows that racial disparities in school discipline policies are not only well-documented among older students but actually begin during preschool.”

Pre-school? Yes, from preschool on, boys of color are disproportionately afflicted by suspensions and zero-tolerance policies in school. They are more likely to be disciplined, more likely to be suspended, and more likely to be held back a grade. Suspended students are less likely to graduate on time and more likely to be suspended a second time. They are more likely to drop out, and to end up in trouble.

The report shows that preschool is not a reality for much of the country, particularly in poorer districts. Where it does exist, students of color — blacks and Latinos — are more likely to be suspended. This has been documented repeatedly in older grades, but now we learn it starts even in preschool.

And that’s not all. The report documents a continuing and shameful catalog of racial disparity: Black and Latino students are more likely to have teachers with less experience and lower pay. African Americans, Latinos and students with disabilities are less likely to have access to the full range of science and math courses. Why? Schools with large minority populations often don’t offer the most upper-range curricula in those areas. They’re also less likely to have a full-time counselor.

Zero tolerance. Inexperienced and poorly paid teachers. Less support. Less access to advanced courses. The odds are stacked against these kids from preschool on.

And that isn’t all. Children of color are more likely to grow up in poverty, less likely to have adequate health care, less likely to have good nutrition, less likely to live in safe neighborhoods and more likely to be homeless.

African Americans still have less access to credit and were often targeted for dicey mortgages in the housing bubble, and they suffer higher rates of unemployment and mortgage foreclosures.

None of this is a surprise. None of it is in doubt. The report isn’t a revelation; it is a validation of a “whereas” that is already known. What has been lacking isn’t evidence of disparity, it is evidence of action. The “whereas” is supposed to lead to a “therefore,” but we’ve seen precious little of that.

Is anyone listening? We are condemning another generation to poverty, despair, broken homes and broken families. We are writing off children — starting in preschool — without giving them a fair shot.

We have a continuing racial crisis in this country — or rather, a crisis of class and race. Schools of poor children are shortchanged. And children, particularly boys of color, face even greater odds against them.

We need remedy for these racial disparities and resources for these class disparities. Parents need to challenge aggressively discriminatory discipline practices. Communities need to join together to demand an end to the savage inequality in schools. We need more resources targeted to the schools with the most need.

A sensible public program would ensure the poor children have the same opportunity that affluent ones have. They would get the most experienced and skilled teachers, not the least of them. Their schools would get more resources to have smaller classes, particularly in the early grades, and modern facilities that include counselors and host after-school programs, parental engagement and education. We’d take aggressive steps to ensure that children have secure housing, good nutrition and high quality health care. And we’d crack down on the discriminatory and destructive discipline policies that are discarding our children rather than taking them in and lifting them up.

This is a moral disgrace. It is also a national folly. Children of color are together the future majority, not the minority.

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail