America is considered the land of opportunity. It has the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate Bridge on each side of the country’s borders to represent just that notion. Unfortunately, this call does not apply to all of its citizens, especially citizens of color. Adults and children living in America, who are African American or Hispanic American, do not have economic equality or stability. The evidence of severe shortcomings in our country’s efforts to break down the barriers that exclude people of color will continue to deprive them of true equality. A common outcry from students of color is the desire for a fair and just quality of life. I believe we have reached an uncompromising and an unacceptable regression in our school systems regarding our youth, particularly those students of color. Social attitudes, limits and inconsistent service stipulations continue to exclude students of color from many opportunities, constraining the lives of them and their families. I perceive that many scholars would blame their behavior, learning ability, and beliefs on the parents’ inability to assist, hip hop music, gang units, and their overall environment. However, when does the cycle end? How can a student of color transcend all of the pitfalls and daggers that are thrown at them and still come out on top? When can they have hope in the political arena? It’s very difficult for a young person of color to look at the bright side of life when everything around them is gloomy. I was raised in the projects (low-income dwellings) in the city of New York during my teenage year, in a single family home with an older sibling. My mother worked long hours to provide the necessities for us; however, my sibling and I work part-time jobs to assist my mother since there was no other income. In my environment none of my peers ever talked about college or even graduating from high school. Most of us had to have jobs to help support our families or some found extracurricular activities to past time and most of the activities were sex, drugs or violent crimes. That was twenty years ago, and it’s depressingly sad to see that things have not changed, in fact it might have gotten slightly worst. Under No Child Left Behind Act, states are working to close the achievement gap and make sure all students, including those who are disadvantaged, achieve academic proficiency. My synopsis of NCLB is that the nation saw that there was a problem in the beginning in the educational arena; therefore a policy had to be put in place so that all children are educated justly. NCLB states: “In the past, too many African American and Hispanic American students have been shortchanged by our nation’s schools. In the greatest country in the world, we created two education systems – separate and unequal. Forty years after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, some schoolchildren were taught well while others – mostly poor and minority – were left to struggle or drop out. A growing “achievement gap” between white and African and Hispanic American students was left unaddressed for far too long. Also, language and cultural barriers, too often left unaddressed by schools, exacerbated the problem.”(ed.gov 2005). Former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings made a statement about African Americans “For the first time ever, we are looking ourselves in the mirror and holding ourselves accountable for educating every child. That means all children, no matter their race or income level or zip code.” And about Hispanic Americans “One in every five children under 18 is of Hispanic origin. We must work together to ensure all these children stay in school and have the chance to achieve their potential. (ed.gov 2005). It’s unfortunate that currently the NCLB act hasn’t been too committed to this policy. With statements like the one Former Secretary Spelling makes, speaks volumes. It addresses the poor treatment students of color were receiving before the act was...
References: Thomas-Lester, Avis; (2009) Number of Black Male Teachers Belies Their Influence
The Washington Post, July 4, Saturday, METRO; Pg. B01
Maxwell, Bill; (2009) The Missing Man In Class
St. Petersburg Times (Florida), July 12, Sunday, PERSPECTIVE; Pg. 3P
John-Hall, Annette; (2009) Education debate in black and white
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Hall, H. R. (2007). Poetic expressions: Students of color express resiliency through metaphors
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Sarah Baker & Shane Homan (2007) Rap, Recidivism and the Creative Self: A Popular Music Programme for Young Offenders in Detention; Journal of Youth Studies; Vol. 10, No. 4, September 2007, pp. 459 _476
Lawrence, Charles R., III (1995) The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism; Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that formed the movement.
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