Tracking - Sam Elias A Long Term Problem with No Easy Soultions One of the biggest problems in the United States educational system today is the

Tracking - Sam Elias A Long Term Problem with No Easy...

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Sam Elias 10/11/13 A Long Term Problem with No Easy Soultions One of the biggest problems in the United States’ educational system today is the presence of racial inequalities in achievement. The achievement gap is manifested in a standardized test score gap, significant differentiation in school grades, and admittance into prestigious colleges. The cause of the inequalities can be broken down into two categories: the defining culture of the different racial groups and the structure of education that gives some groups advantages over others. Black and minority students struggle academically because of the income inequality between races in the country. Nobody wants to hear it but blacks and other minorities do not make as much money as whites do. Paul Trough makes the connection of these two inequalities by saying, “Mental abilities seem to correlate most strongly with socioeconomic status” (Trough 2008, p. 46). The racial achievement gap manifests itself very early on in a child’s life, in preschool. At this point in life the gap cannot be blamed on schools, but instead can be attributed to the family. (Thernstorm 2003, p. 130) Many minority families are organized differently than white middle class families. There is a higher occurrence of single parent homes as well as parents who need to work two jobs in order to make ends meet. These family traits prevent parents from providing the attention to their young children that is necessary, which hampers their intellectual growth. Most white middle to upper class children enjoy the benefit of having a parent always be there for them because they are not working; they have stories read to them and participate in intellectually stimulating after-school activities. Even the simple act of a parent talking to his or her child gives whites an advantage. Since the white parents have a superior
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education, they speak with better grammar, which is then soaked in by the children. Minorities’ lack of economic capital prevents them from amassing human and social capital. Human capital is tied to the skills that a person acquires and gives someone the tools for their future. Social capital is the value that is obtained through special treatment and the establishment of connections to those in power. The absence of a large amount of discretionary income prevents black students from getting extra help outside the classrooms. The families cannot afford to pay for tutors if their kid is lagging behind, and less time is available for homework because many students need to work part-time jobs.
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