The True Horrors of a Black Education

 In Equity and Access

It seems like every Halloween there is a new wave of college students dressing in racially insensitive attire, masquerading as costumes. This year is no different. While kids, teens, and adults alike gear up for the ultimate spook fest that is All Hallows’ Eve, we are reminded of the true horrors that plague our school system every day. Mask on. Mask off. Unfortunately, there is no unmasking in the Black community, especially where education is concerned. For as far back as history will allow us to go, Black students have always had to work harder to achieve the same education as their white counterparts. Now, if that isn’t enough to scare you, then we’re not sure what will. The sad reality of this horror movie is that the end credits have yet to begin rolling.

Here in the grand ole’ USA, land of the free and home of the brave, we are conditioned from childhood to believe that all things are equal. As it pertains to education, equality would mean that every student is expected to achieve the same academic success because they have the same rights, opportunities, and resources as one another. While equality is a beautiful thing, it does not address the needs of each individual. For instance, issuing tablets to each student on the first day of school does nothing for the child whose home doesn’t have internet. No matter how equal you think a school is, some students may still find it difficult to succeed. Equality in education just simply isn’t enough.

However, equity on the other hand is giving each student the individualized support they need to overcome personal barriers that may very well be holding them back, or perhaps limiting them from achieving the academic success they are so capable of obtaining. Equity is a measure of impartiality and opportunity. It’s making sure that same student with the tablet has internet to utilize it in the same manner as his classmate.

Ready for the chilling climax? The scary part is that far too many schools are set up with the mindset that every student is on the same page. In fact, 97% of teachers agree that equity is important, but many don’t know how to best work towards it in their classrooms. Thus, it is critical for educators to focus on the obstacles that students face, particularly our Black and Brown students.

However, this is the horror Black kids, Brown kids, and underprivileged kids are met with. We should all be a bit frightened. Because you see, for some students they live it every single day. A permanent costume unable to come off.

Hence why it is so important for educators, administrators, and policymakers to acknowledge the difference between equity and equality in education. Until we are ready to confront the real boogey man, our kids will continue to suffer. And, I think we’ve suffered enough.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”- Harriet Tubman.

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