In Public Schools

from the "outside" looking "in"

African American Perceptions

Posted by Admin On April - 9 - 2010


AAPapril11African American views on education vary by their economic position in the community.  Just like any race, there are differences in background and economic means. While there are some differences in attitudes based on race, more often, the difference occurs more frequently between the well to do and those without means.

The study called “Public Attitudes on Higher Education, A Trend Analysis, 1993 to 2003 examined the attitudes of parents across the nation. It also isolated those attitudes by racial groups. In the publication they identified the belief that African Americans not only believed that higher education was important for their children’s advancement in the world, they also believed that it was not always available to qualified people.

The percentages of African Americans that believed that many qualified people would never have the opportunity go to college spiked from 60 percent in 2000 to 76 percent in 2003. This number was much higher than the 51 percent of the white respondents. Factoring in a higher unemployment rate for African Americans than white Americans and the downward cycle of the economy could be the reason for the difference.

Higher education is not the only place where many African Americans feel slighted. Often they feel left out of the decision making process of the lower public schools also. Part of it is the fault of the administration for not welcoming input and part comes from inability of the African American to realize they add value to the system when they participate.

Unenlightened teachers often ignore the information available from parents. Those teachers who focus on the advancement of the student with any source available find that their parents often offer valuable insights and ideas. These types of teachers often increase the participation of the African American community in the school process.

Low-level positions and unemployment also create a resistance for African Americans to have their voices heard when it comes to the operation of the schools.  Often low income equals low self-esteem. Low self-esteem equals an unwillingness to believe they have anything to donate to the process of education.

Some parents respond to the feeling of inadequacy by negating the importance of an education. In these homes that often transfers to lower achievement of the child and higher drop out rates. Even if the parents don’t voice an opinion but fail to become involved in their child’s education, the implied attitude produces the same results.

Since African Americans have the highest unemployment rate, it only follows that they also have the lowest economic position. Families often live in neighborhoods where the incomes, or lack of incomes, are the same.  In situations where this occurs, the children of the lower economic families often have no opportunity to see anything but poverty. They have no opportunity to find a role model or dream of the potential that their future can bring. The lack of a potential dream is what stops the African American or any other economically challenged person from rising above his conditions and attaining goals.

If the schools present vivid examples to the child of his alternative potential, work with the parents to bring their voices alive and see each success inside each child simply waiting for the school to find the key to open it the change can bring miracles to the future of each child. With a firm grounding in education and the dream of possibilities, the high unemployment and dropout rates for the African American community should reduce.

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One Response to “African American Perceptions”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing!

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