Out of reach: The race gap
April 13, 2018
When one out of ten students feel that they have been denied the opportunity to do something at school and one out of five feel that people do not listen to their opinions because of their ethnicity, it is clear that racial opportunity disparity is present in a school. This revelation is even more disquieting when, according to a Nordic poll of 235 students, it applies to Inglemoor.
“A lot of people are probably uncomfortable talking about it,” said junior Linda Zhu, “but they shouldn’t be.”
Over one third of Inglemoor students are minorities, making this disparity an important issue to address to ensure that all students have an equal chance to succeed educationally.
While a student’s ethnicity can lead to discrimination within opportunities, it also affects their potential exposure to those opportunities. A study by the Brown Center found that Caucasian and Asian students are more likely to be presented with the choice to take advanced classes compared to their African-American or Hispanic peers. These students are also the most likely to obtain a Bachelor’s degree or higher. This connection between exposure and achievement brings racial factors into the matter of opportunity disparity before the opportunity is even attempted.
To overcome the issue of opportunity disparity, the Inglemoor Equity Team was created this year to promote equal opportunity in the school community by providing nondiscriminatory access to classes, limiting barriers and creating opportunities for all students.
“We always ask what we can do as a school to give a voice to students across the spectrum,” counselor Jennifer Orhuozee said.
Orhouzee said that equity should be a focus for the school at all times and that communication with both students and parents can keep them informed of their available opportunities.
“An outreach in communication will let people know what’s out there for them,” Orhuozee said.
Assistant Principal Erica Hill, co-head of the Equity Team, said that there are steps being taken by the school to improve access to opportunities for minorities by giving extra support to those who need it, holding field trips for minority students and partnering with a multicultural parent group called Natural Leaders, which focuses on involving parents in their children’s school communities.
“We are looking at things through the lens of equity,” Hill said. “We are definitely moving in a good direction.”
She also said that students can address the opportunity disparity in their own lives by speaking for themselves and taking advantage of their opportunities.
“By teaching students skills to advocate for themselves, we give them a platform to share their voice,” she said. “There is nothing more important.”