7 Little-Known, Yet Important Facts You Should Know About Ethnic Minorities and the U.S Education System
It’s pretty much common knowledge to most Americans that this country is composed of immigrants who have settled in since this country was still just an idea. It is also fairly well-known that most immigrant groups have struggled in some way when it comes to things such as discrimination, equal access to opportunities, and assimilation. Let’s take a look today at major ethnic minorities in America and the specific struggles that they have had. And since this is an education blog, let’s specifically look at the challenges these groups have faced in pursuing a quality education in America. Without further ado, here are some very important facts you should know:
- African Americans enjoyed equal educational opportunities right after slavery ended. Before slavery was abolished in 1865, African Americans were prohibited from literacy by law in many states. However, from 1865 until 1890, African Americans enjoyed equal education in their own schools and received funding to run the schools. Unfortunately, as the European Americans saw African Americans becoming educated and taking jobs they felt were rightfully theirs, this equality took a backward step, and in the early 1900s Black people were once again given fewer educational opportunities than their White counterparts.
- Historically, there are parallels in the educational experiences of Hispanic children and African American children, as both attended segregated schools.
Just as many African American families have been in the United States for longer than many European American families, many Hispanic (or Latino) people in the United States have been in the United States much longer than many families of European descent. Many Hispanic families in the Southwest come from families that have been in California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico since the time these states were still a part of the Republic of Mexico.
- Hispanic children were finally able to attend desegregated schools in 1973. Despite that ruling, today, two of every five Hispanic students still attend intensely racially segregated schools. And almost 90% of Hispanic students attend public schools in urban centers, with almost absolute racial isolation.
- American schools as a whole face a challenge in educating Hispanic students. Recent statistics on the educational attainment of Hispanic students paint a bleak future, unless proper measures are taken.
More than 50% of fourth-grade Hispanic students are not skilled in math and reading, and by the time they are 17 years old, many exhibit math and reading abilities equivalent to those of 13-year-old White students. Only around half of Latino students finish high school, and the graduation outlook is even worse for Latino males. One predictor of academic success is school attendance. For whatever reason, Hispanic students are absent from school at higher rates than their peers.
- Native Americans were made slaves during colonial times, but they were given the opportunity to become educated in the late 1800s.
Unfortunately, their education was a form of deculturalization, as they were sent to boarding schools with the goal of assimilating them into American culture. They were frequently physically abused when they spoke their traditional language and/or engaged in Native American cultural behaviors.
Since the 1960s, Native Americans have been given an increasing amount of control over the education of their children on Native American reservations. They can hire their own teachers and create their own curriculum, and they still receive government funding. This has allowed them to create schools that keep their culture and traditions alive.
- Like other minority groups, early Asian immigrants to America were made to attend segregated schools. This practice that declined after World War II as Asian Americans began to move into more integrated settings.
- Children who identify (orare identified by their parents) as multiethnic increased by 50% since 2000, making it the fastest-growing group among young people. This is especially interesting, considering that interracial marriage was still illegal in several states until 1967.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about these seven interesting facts. If you have any more valuable, less-known information about ethnic minorities and their access to education in the United States, feel free to leave a comment below.