Research Paper on Minority Education: Causes of Poor Performance in School

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1537 Words
Date:  2023-01-31


There are many reasons given to the poor performance of minority children in school and as portrayed by the author, "John U Ogbu" in one of his many journals, "Anthropology and Education Quarterly" talking about people don't know the differences between objectives and types of anthropological research of minority education. He starts by stating that his study was going to consist two different views on causes of minority kids' low performance in school and because of his audience's difference in interests he was going to talk about educational anthropology and their different approaches. Ethnographic research mainly began in the 1960s studying up on the minority education system, having an initial notion from anthropologists during this stage saying that they are refuting the occurrence that minority ad sick children were failing in academics because of "cultural depravity." Further stating that their research showed that poor and minority children were not deprived culturally or deprived of stimulating learning environment than their middle-class white counterparts. These anthropologists agreed that even though their cultures were different, they were no different than white middle-class children. The purpose of this paper is to write an analytical and reflective paper on different criteria on education systems in the United States.

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Review of Blackboard Jungle

The Richard Brooks 1955 film "Blackboard Jungle" shows asocial commentary in an American setting that reflected urban school's violence and also aided in the rock and roll revolution establishment featuring the song 'Rock Around the Clock' by Bill Haley and it was the first movie that was a significant feature that shows rock and roll music on its soundtrack. The film is based on a 1954 novel by Evan Hunter, and it depicts brutal view unlike seen before on film about the social conditions of urban schools and further made the movie famous because of the theme of interracial schooling (not accessible in the 1950s) and the music. It was among the first set of movies to show the breaking of stereotypes by depicting that the youth in the inter-city schools were not a menace and showing Sidney Poitier an African American student as a hero further showing that the general paranoia of the public was a lie those poor and colored students were the ones causing chaos in these schools.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Looking back at the class video in Blackboard Jungle where they saw the fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk and for the first time in the movie, the teacher Mr. Dadier played by Glenn Ford interacted with the students at a creative perspective. Vic Morrow character Artie first says he does not like fairy stories because it does not have "dames" (pretty ladies) while Sidney's character Miller was saying that Jack was a "pretty cool kid" and later saying that he was dumb because he didn't care for his mum. Calling out to Jack for his stupidity makes the class contribute to the conversation, of him having to exchange the only cow to a couple of crazy beans. This interaction about the fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk expands the character of each student in the class, Artie West doesn't get acre about education or life because he does not have any concrete contribution to the discussion. Students say Jack was a thief, murderer and a dumb person, but with all this, he was rewarded with riches and a marriage to a princess.

Chicano Civil Rights Movement

The book written by Douglas E Foley was known as Learning Capitalist Culture was hailed as a fascinating look into the Hispanic and Anglo cultures clash as seen by the youth in South Texas reported by Choice Magazine, then stating that it was a study that provided right questions into the theoretical possibilities that were provocative. The analysis of the book and Chapter four in particular, "Working and Playing Around in the Classroom" was presented as an updated study on ethnographic research on the tiny economically depressed Mexican American which were predominantly found in the small South Texas town (Foley, 1990). With the change in a political and cultural climate that had happened in the North Town Southwest since the late 1960s. This is during the rise of the Chicano movement that fought for racial and civil rights that were established to fight the racial order of segregation that was rampant at the time.

Ethnographic Cultural Practices

The effects of these racial confrontations between the whites and the Mexicans established new challenges and created tensions for the youth of the North Town. Foley who is a professor at the University of Texas teaching anthropology and education reflects in this chapter how the young people learn widely known traditional American values through sports participation, formal or informal social settings, dating and classroom interaction with teachers (Greenblatt, 2015). The author of the book stipulated how the activities rituals that have been involved tend to reproduce or preserve gender and class inequalities even if the Hispanic changed their racial standing in the town. The book is a study on ethnographic the widely known cultural practices that create social and racial inequality it was set in the 1970s in a small South Texas, a high school which had a large population of Mexican American students. Foley tries to show the styles of the interaction of students and the performances of rituals that make up the student body in the school. He then talks more about issues concerning race class and sexual inequalities that core purpose is tying the portrayals of "Goffmanesque" that is situated with broader structural concerns and mainly about class.

The Interpretation of Minority Performance

Now talking about John U Ogbu article, "Variability in Minority School Performance" it takes a look at the hypothesis that has been long reflected by anthropologists that show the many differences in-school experiences of various people in the population that lie in cultural backgrounds and the school's culture that has been discontinued. The research shows a general focus on differences in cognitive, cultural values, communicative, interactional, and motivational domains that are taken to affect the school experience (Ogbu, 1998). He tries to put forth the difference in discontinuities naming three types in the hypothesis, secondary, primary and universal discontinuities but the one mirrored in the chapter is the second type that states the cultural differences of minority education, African Americans and anthropology.

The author concentrates on analytically telling the story of minority education in the United States and the differences found with the performances of minority students and those found in the dominant group (this are the middle-class white students). Ogbu states that the differences in performance were due to treatment received by the minority groups in the community and at school and further the perception of these minority groups have due to this kind of treatment received from their counterparts, "dominant groups" (Beker, 2013). Most of his main ideas in the article is sometimes not clear or well understood, he contradicts himself by stating that low minority performance in school is caused by the sociocultural adaptation for which he has continued to say that community forces caused it this makes his article in some instances to be a misinterpretation of his central notion.

Parenting Styles

The sociologist Annette Lareau is arguing that parents in middle-class families are raising their kids in a way that ensures them to remain in that spectrum of middle-class status with no chance of raising the bar to first class. Moreover, according to Lareau, she believes to be a product of the social class that she was raised in by her parents. According to her extensive study on childhood and social class, she states middle-class families have been known to raise their children in a way that is different from poor and working-class families, and the said differences also cut across racial lines (Lareau, 1987). This article can be said to find a new audience in this new rebirth of interests in public class and commercial outcomes, Lareau continues talking about different methods of parenting used by the different social classes, naming the type used by working-class families as 'accomplishment of natural growth parenting.'


This is where kids have a long time of unstructured schedule hanging out with relatives and friends around the neighborhood; parents order their offspring's rather than asking them for their opinions. The overall belief is that parents should care for their kids but without too much interference from them. On the other hand, with middle-class parents they drive kids to band recitals or soccer practice or also family debates at dinner, Lareau explains that they talk too much to their children even with times negotiation or bargaining on the appropriate disciplinary penalty to be given to the child and this is named the 'parenting concerted cultivation'.


Ogbu, J. U., & Simons, H. D. (1998). Voluntary and involuntary minorities: a culturalecological theory of school performance with some implications for education. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 29(2), 155-188.

Beker, J. (2013). The anthropology of child and youth care work. Routledge.

Foley, D. E. (1990). Learning capitalist culture: Deep in the heart of Tejas. University of Pennsylvania Press.

Greenblatt, S. (2015). Learning to curse: essays in early modern culture. Routledge.

Lareau, A. (1987). Social class differences in family-school relationships: The importance of cultural capital. Sociology of education, 73-85.

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