kevin Washington

Honors Programs Fail To Support Minority Students

The Education system does not support minority students in honors classes. This is a problem which many people fail to realize due to the increase in diversity in schools. But not honors classes.

To the next President of the United States:

All around the US minority students are enrolled into honors programs only to be rebuffed by the lack of diversity in classrooms. This is a real problem, in the US, minority students such as students of Native American, Latino, and black descent or race are presenting a frighteningly low number of students enrolled in honors programs. This needs to be recognized as a real problem in the US in order to spread awareness and spur the education system to act. People must come together and recognize this as a true problem in order to change the race gap and equalize education.

I know that some people might be thinking, isn't today one of the most diverse times in the education system and public schools? In reality, although the number of minority students in public schools is stabilizing it is a completely different story for honors classes. One place this is shown is when the article A Lesson in Disparities states, “Black and Hispanic students account for close to 40 percent of high school students, but they constitute just over a quarter of students taking AP courses and exams, and only 20 percent of enrollment in calculus classes”(Quinton).This goes to say that although the number of minority students in public schools is stabilizing, honors classes still remain disproportionate. Furthermore this indicates that honors classes lack diversity and it is due to problems in the education system because minority students participate less on ratio to white students.

One reason why the number of minority students in honors classes is disproportionate is because of the education provided in minority schools. One example of this is when the article, A Lesson in Disparities, cites, “a quarter of high schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino students do not offer Algebra II; a third of these schools do not offer chemistry” (Quinton). This indicates that education system sets up minority students for failure because they don't supply the same classes as in average schools, decreasing their chance of getting into an honors program or a college.

Another reason why Minority students make up a small number of students in honors classes is simply because the of the numbers in honors classes as it is. One example of this is, “...she has felt isolated and uncomfortable as one of the only Latina students in the Honors Program” (Hemperly). This indicates how minority students might not participate in honors programs because students feel isolated due to the lack of diversity in honors classes and are encouraged to switch out do to the because of the unfamiliar atmosphere in the classroom.

A final reason why there is a lack of diversity in honors classes is because of the discouragement minority students experience in school. Minority students are constantly judged by others based on their race, this judging can be positive and negative but most of the time it's done in a negative and prejudiced manner which discourages a person from succeeding. One instance of this is in the article, Data shows lack of diversity in CSU Honors Program, which a statement from a student who, “...recalled one Honors student being called an “oreo” — black on the outside, white on the inside”.(Hemperly). This indicates that minority students are discouraged from participating in honors classes because they are judged by their own race. The reason this might be so is because there isn't a sizable school/honors ratio of minorities in honors classes, and although it is increasing, students of minority groups participating in honors classes will continue to be judged until that ratio is equal. Furthermore, although all groups are stigmatized for excelling in education / vice versa, it is especially relevant for minority students because they don't have the majority advantage.

In conclusion, the education system is failing minority students by expecting lower standards of them and allowing dis transparency of education in classes. I know that the education system is flawed and must be made equal for all students. To make this a reality, people must recognize this problem from a school, to state, and to a country level, in order to spread awareness that this is a real problem, so we can make changes not only in the education system but on societies norms and rules. By the changing the achievement gap for both students and education officials we  can ensure that all students can get the educations and jobs they really want in order to succeed in life and make this country a better and more diverse place.



West Seattle High School

3rd Period LA9H

Hopkins Honors Intro to Literature & Composition

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