Jonah J. Minnesota

The Education Gap

Students of different ethnicities are not receiving the same opportunity for success through our current education system.

Dear Future President, 

As the land of opportunity, we like to believe that everyone has equal opportunity to succeed. If you have the passion and the motivation, you can do whatever you set your mind to, or so we are told. This vision places everyone on the same level and allows the rich and the successful to feel a strong sense of superiority over the common man. For the successful man had the motivation, that the common man did not have. While the successful man boldly gambled on himself, the common man was too afraid to. The successful man can look at the many, many common men, and wonder to himself, "Why did they not choose to be successful like me?". 

Yet this belief system of dedication and hard work is being threatened. For the entire basis of this argument rests upon the belief that they were given, more or less, the same opportunities; that they started at the same place. A man running one mile does not question why others cannot run fifty. 

Increasingly more evidence has been showing that all citizens do not receive the same opportunities. According to the article, "Money, Race, and Success: How Your School District Compares" by Motoko Rich, Amanda Cox, and Matthew Bloch, white children excel at much higher rates than their African American or Hispanic counterparts. The graph below, taken from "Money, Race, and Success: How Your School District Compares" has how many grade levels in front or behind students are running along the y-axis. The socio-economic background is reflected by the x-axis: the farther to the right, the greater income their family has.

The first observation one that one might make would be that white students, on average, have a much wealthier background. This could be a possible explanation for why the white students are more grades ahead than other ethnicities, correct? Wealthier children do not need to worry about the array of issues that their poorer counterparts would. Depending on the income, some economically challenged children may need to get a job at a younger age, may worry about getting enough to eat, and can't afford tutors or enrichment opportunities. This all seems to make perfect sense, however, the graph below takes school districts where students of different races have similar economic backgrounds. The districts are shown by a circle for each race represented and a line to connect them. It is very clear that even in this situation, where students have similar economic backgrounds, that the white students, on average, maintain up to 2 full grade levels in front of the hispanic or african-american students in the same district. 

At the same district, students of all races should, and might, receive the exact same treatment, yet there is a huge gap in achievement depending on race. I know that no man is so disgustingly racist, or so unfounded in fact to believe that certain races excel at a greater rate in school than others, while under the same circumstances. But if these students, biologically and economically should be the same, why are African American and Hispanic students so consistently being outperformed. This is a clear indicator that something is incredibly wrong, within our education system, which needs to be fixed as quickly as possible.


Rich, Motoko, Amanda Cox, and Matthew Bloch. "Money, Race and Success: How Your School District  Compares." Th New York Times, 29 Apr. 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.