Essay Sample on A Significant Issue in Education

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  949 Words
Date:  2022-11-04


A significant problem in education is discrimination. Discrimination has implications around racism, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Instructors must be ready to examine and acknowledge their beliefs, and overcome their discrimination. They need to assess their practices regarding their ideals and recognize and evaluate the position of power they hold in their classrooms to be true social justice educators.

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Students of color are disproportionately subject to disciplinary action in schools. For instance, suspension, in-school detention, and expulsion cause the students to miss classroom time and fall further behind their coursework. Based on recent findings by the Department of Education, students of color represent approximately 18% of preschool enrollment. However, 48% of these children receive more than one out-of-school suspension (Smith & Harper 3). Additionally, from preschool through high school, students of color are nearly four times more likely to be suspended and nearly twice likely to be expelled as White students. Evidently, black boys are approximately three times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than White boys are. Similarly, black girls are six times more likely to receive an out-of-school suspension than White girls are (Smith & Harper 5).

Institutions rarely tackle the effectiveness of the White instructor in relation to the student of color. Black students who survive this system and join college continue to face issues around discrimination, oppression, and stereotyping in predominantly white institutions. The different aspects of this issue thus range from faculty to learner bias, student to student discrimination, and racial profiling from law enforcement officers on and off campus.

Undeniably, this issue creates various challenges. For example, the explicit and implicit biases, and racism impairs the learning and development of students of color. The stress of racial discrimination may partly explain the gaps in academic performance between students of color and their White colleagues. Research by Levy, Heissel, Richeson, and Adam (464) established that the physiological response to two sources of race-based stressors, namely perceived discrimination and stereotype threat, caused the body to produce more stress hormones in students of color. The psychological response to discrimination or the coping mechanisms Black or Latino students develops to reduce the distress compounds the biological reaction to race-based stress. Over the years, the students develop ways to minimize racial stressors. Nevertheless, these strategies affect their academic success adversely. For example, learners might cope by deciding that doing well in school is not a part of their identity. Irrefutably, this affects their academic performance negatively (Levy et al. 465).

The issue of race, ethnicity, and equality in education began centuries ago as evidenced by the struggle to read and write of a black slave, Frederick Douglass. His masters, who were White, curtailed his efforts to learn how to read and write just because of his racial background. Today, factors such as media representation of people of color affect people's perception, which contributes significantly to this issue of discrimination in schools. For instance, when reporting on crimes, the media uses incriminating photos of victims of color while they use positive images of White suspects. Such unequal representation affects how the society perceives youth of color. Additionally, many White teachers tend to underestimate the academic abilities of students of color. Such instances are evidenced by student exclusion from school group projects or faculty members lack the interest to assist students of color.

Notwithstanding, various solutions can solve this issue. First, ending excessive discipline measures against students of color can reduce the rate of discrimination against these students. Regarding this solution, zero-tolerance policies should be banned. Additionally, schools should discourage expulsions and suspensions especially for more subjective offenses like willful defiance. Instead, schools should invest in professional development for teachers and faculty members to impart them with knowledge and skills on how to best execute discipline, including the use of restorative justice ((Smith & Harper 86). Undeniably, this can create a safe space for the accused and the victims to make amends. Second, schools should promote positive ethnic and racial identity to reduce feelings of exclusion, which can improve students' ability to concentrate on their studies. Teachers can assist students of color to develop positive feelings concerning their ethnic and racial identity by creating safe spaces for them to celebrate their differences. Consequently, student exposure to racial discrimination can decline and improve race relations in the learning institutions in the United States.

Various resources might be involved in implementing the solutions above. Of importance are financial resources to fund the professional development of teachers and faculty members in anti-racial education. Additionally, funds might be involved in developing teaching and learning resources that are designed to promote diversity and social cohesion in U.S. schools. Similarly, counselors can be a useful human resource in fighting the effects of discrimination to improve the well-being of students of color and their families. Counselors can play a vital role in spearheading restorative justice in all disciplinary procedures involving students to color.

However, for the solutions to be effective, the weak points in legal protection that limit the fight against discrimination in schools should be rectified. Additionally, the discrimination against teachers of color during recruitment limits the implementation of these solutions. Moreover, unless schools hire more teachers of color, students from minority groups will continue to face racial discrimination in American learning institutions.

Works Cited

Levy, Dorainne J., et al. "Psychological and biological responses to race-based social stress as pathways to disparities in educational outcomes." American Psychologist71.6 (2016): 455.

Smith, Edward J., and Shaun R. Harper. "Disproportionate impact of K-12 school suspension and expulsion on Black students in southern states." Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from http://www. gse. upenn. edu/equity/sites/gse. upenn. edu. equity/files/publications/SOUTHADVANCEDDRAFT24AUG15. pdf (2015).

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