Social Justice

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Social Justice
Black Children in Education
This essay aim to; discuss inequalities in education in relation to black children and how the principles of social justice affects them. The term ‘social justice’ can be defined in many ways. However; it is closely related to equality, fairness and solidarity. Social justice is seen to be occurring if an individual or community is treated without any prejudice regardless of their; race, gender, age or cultural beliefs. The term social justice suggests that everyone should be treated equally however; there are some groups in society which are treated differently whether because of their social class or ethnicity. Black children as well as some other children are seen to encounter some form of injustice in education however; for this assignment the writer will be focusing on black children in education and their experiences, how they have been affected by the principles of social justice. The writer will begin to discuss their educational achievement in comparison to other ethnic groups. A number of references have been made in terms of ethnicity and education for example; ‘The Swann report’ found that ethnic minorities in comparison to other groups perform less in education (King 1977). Drew (1995) also supports this by highlighting that black Afro -Caribbean boys are performing at the bottom in reference to educational attainment (King 1977). However, evidence suggest that black girls in education are performing better than black boys; although when been compared to other white children who are from the same social class their performance is inferior to them (Gilborn 1997). One could also argue that they also face inequalities of opportunities in education. One could argue that the reason for black children not achieving and succeeding could be linked to various different things such as; discrimination, institutional racism, teacher expectation, educational opportunities, equal opportunities and media perception. Education should provide every individual with equal opportunities to succeed. This is not always the case with black children. Bernard Coard (1971) hypothesise using personal experiences that; “The education system makes black children become educationally subnormal by making them feel inferior in every way” (Coard, 1971, p.31). Evidently black children in education sometimes are not given the same opportunities as their white counterparts. Teachers have low expectations of them thus; depriving them of the support they need to achieve academically. This was evident by; Curtis (2008) who emphasised that black children’s ability has been underestimated by teachers suggesting that they could be victims of institutional racism. In the British school system children are place into sets according to how gifted and talented they have been perceived. On the other hand; black children in comparison to white children are placed into lower tier even before they could prove themselves to be capable of being in higher tiers. Being place into a lower set meant that teachers would focus their attention more on children in the higher tiers because they were seen to be most likely to gain 5 or more GCSEs, which would put black children at a disadvantage of receiving the support they needed into order to reach their full potential. Gillborn (1995) argued that this was racism in its hidden form; this was a way of shaping black children’s future so that they would remain in the lower class in society by not achieving in school to gain high paying jobs in society. Arguable underachievement of black children in school is caused by institutional racism and teachers’ negative and low expectation of them. According to Gillborn (1990) this was evident in two schools where black children were placed into foundation mathematics even before they took the maths exam because it was already pre-determined that they would fail. One could argue that, if a child is already labelled to perform...
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