Essay Example on the White-African American Achievement Gap

Paper Type: 
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  914 Words
Date:  2021-03-23

The review of research literature conducted by Robinson, Keith, and Angel L. Harris identifies various factors that seem to contribute to the White-African American achievement gap. Racial differences in parenting practices seem to account for a significant portion of White-African American achievement gap even after controlling for socioeconomic status. This is an indication, through the suggestion of findings that White parents have the likelihood of engaging in practices that relate to academic achievement, compared to the African American parents, which includes such practices as involvement in school activities, warmth sensitivity, and monitoring as well as engaging children in decision-making activities. White students also have the likelihood of receiving high-quality instructions, than African students in that they are often taught by teachers who are more experienced, are exposed to challenging situations, and have an improved relationship with teachers compared to their African American peers with comparable achievement records.

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Chambers and Philip in his observation noted that the initiatives in1960s and 1970s to minimize racial achievement gap primarily emphasized on addressing the perceived cultural deficits as well as intrapsychic issues involving African Americans and Hispanics,(140) which implied that the problems resided with the achievement ability of minority students. It currently commonly acknowledged that the issues involving racial disparities in education is a complex one and which is multifaceted and cannot be explained in terms of individual deficits of minority students. Researchers have illustrated various environmental variables that relate to parents response on the inadequate racial achievement, or the achievement gap, even though the literature is not often conclusive in terms of which variables are more firmly related to the racial environment gap. For instance, the extent literature base associated with whether teacher-student relations are related to the racial achievement is mixed.

The research conducted by McKnown and Rhona supported the contention that racism does, in fact, contribute to how parents respond to the inadequate achievement of as African American students obtained direct and indirect messages from society, parents as well as their teachers that their race is considered inadequate in comparison to the Whites (237). For instance, African American students have the likelihood of interpreting lower teacher expectations as an indication of being less competent compared to White students. Similarly, studies have found that increased rates of disciplinary referrals for African American and Latino students have a relation with minority students perceiving school personnel as being unfair and can be interpreted by minority students as an indication that their value is less considered, which is likely to impact their academic achievement negatively.

Robinson and Harris Notes that parenting styles contribute largely to the response of inadequate achievement from both White and African American parents. They emphasize that parenting styles for African Americans might be direct results of their experiences as a subordinate group in the United States (1349), which is to say that parental input contributes to students inadequate achievement gap, especially for the black students. A study conducted for controlling parenting styles as well as demographic factors eliminated the achievement gap between White and Black students and found that this is to be the case or one academic outcome language and literacy skills in ratings. This, they identified was because of the different measures of education, because the study used slightly differing measures for parenting styles, including indicators which reflected the way that parents talk to their children about school experiences, school work, activities among others. Variables such as these, which capture parent-student interaction, contribute to the response of inadequate achievement. In addition, it also helps children from different social backgrounds to develop an orientation towards school.

On examining whether racial and a social class difference exists in parenting philosophy to address inadequate achievement, Robinson and Harris makes an observation that scholars have argued that social class contributes to shaping responses that parents employ on the academic outcomes of their children. As they note, parents of higher social class tend to pay less attention to raising an obedient child, while more emphasis on the internal states, depending more on their explanations, reasoning and psychological methods of discipline. The connection, here, therefore, is that social class has effects on the characteristics of parents and how they value their children. White and black parenting measures fail to account for effects on socioeconomic status. The shortcoming obscures the idea behind disciplinary forms that parents sometimes considered prominent especially among black parents.

Overall, parents are part of a social unit that contributes to the power, privilege, and oppression of their geographical space, when students are less differentiated from their structure and undifferentiated from societal ideas, they project more of their own undesirable traits onto other. Both black and white parents perspective influence achievement gap; Factors such as institutions, high-quality teachers, program instructions have been given more attention than the responses parents need to employ for the purpose of improving the achievement of their children. The study by Robinson and Harris contributes largely to providing information on racial and social class variation in parental approaches to the achievement of their children as well as a few implications for improving achievements.

Works Cited

Robinson, Keith, and Angel L. Harris. "Racial and social class differences in how parents respond to inadequate achievement: Consequences for children's future achievement." Social science quarterly 94.5 (2013): 1346-1371.

McKown, Clark, and Rhona S. Weinstein. "Teacher expectations, classroom context, and the achievement gap." Journal of school psychology 46.3 (2008): 235-261.

Chambers, Bette, and Philip C. Abrami. "The relationship between student team learning outcomes and achievement, causal attributions, and affect."Journal of Educational Psychology 83.1 (1991): 140.

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