From where I lived before college, a fifteen minute walk would take me to the school I attended, Piedmont High School. Its student demographics: seventy percent White, less than two percent African American. A twenty minute walk in the opposite direction would lead to Oakland Technical High School. Its student demographics: thirty-four percent African American, twenty-two percent White.
Despite the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education, segregation in schools is painfully apparent today. This is due to segregated neighborhoods, which play a key role in maintaining the legacy of racism in education. Piedmont High School is able to achieve this with a single rule: only residents of Piedmont can attend Piedmont High School. In turn, a cycle is then created that perpetuates the separation of socioeconomic groups for generations to come. In order to dismantle today’s segregated education system, it must be understood what factors contribute to what drives the system; once explained, there are multiple solutions that, over time, could potentially lead to a desegregation of schools.
Piedmont High School is a school for the rich. Its predominantly White and Asian demographic came from the surrounding wealthy town of Piedmont. The clean halls and well supplied classrooms reflect upon the essence of Piedmont High School. I remembered how teachers emphasized having each student participate and ask questions. In English class, students were allowed to free write poetry and read it to the class. In Math, students would split off into groups to figure out and explore key mathematical concepts. In Science, teachers were supplied with surplus materials to allow students to perform labs on their own. Very few studen...
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...ne to our education system. This bifurcated education system is the accumulation of “education deficits” due to a history of racism and policies, labelled as an “education debt” (Ladson-Billings). The first step is addressing the existing education debt, and proving that the achievement gap is not the problem at hand. Second, the classroom environment must be re-evaluated. If schools can redesign an education program that can protocol active learning, it would be one step forward in aiding underfunded schools. Lastly, public schools like Piedmont High School should not be allowed to require residency to attend. Requirements such as this only perpetuates the existing system of segregation. By realizing the problems in our education system and giving wider access to beneficial school environments, we can slowly work toward a future where segregation belongs in the past.
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