By the time I entered the 9th grade, I was utterly disgusted with the school district I had spent most of my childhood in. I decided that I wanted to attend a high school in the public school district, which was much more racially diverse, but the education wasn’t as qualitative. Although, I didn’t experience much social issues amongst my peers, I still observed the blatant difference of disciplinary action taken amongst white girls and black girls, in the attempt to correct disruptive behavior such as mild arguing or copping an “attitude” with the teacher.
In a recent report provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Civil Rights Data Collection, 2009-2010, 17% of Black female students make up national school enrollment; 31% of Black female students were referred to law enforcement and 43% were arrested for a school related incident. African American female students are suspended for vague offenses, considerably more than their white counterparts. Also, African American female students are more likely to experience sexual harassment during school between the 8th -11th grades, are less likely to participate in extra-curricular activities or afterschool programming, more likely to be held back, and more likely to score lower on state wide and standardized testing.
Most people believe that Black male students receive the most unwarranted attention throughout their educational career; however, it is also young Black girls who have received the short end of the stick as it relates to the slowly closing achievement gap. Overall, these academic disparities are more than likely due to the fact that many white teachers that are placed in schools where there is a large African American representation typically have limited access to educational resources.
It has become extremely difficult to encourage Black students to strive for academic success, with so many internal school barriers such as not having the same fair chance as their white counterparts. Our children have figured out that they are being treated unfairly in the public school system across the board. As parents and active community members, we ought to demand that our children receive a fair chance at academic success without the labels and stereotypical ideal about our students being placed on them as soon as they enter the school building. Lack of parent engagement is a huge reason as to why our black students have so many barriers facing them on a consistent basis. As a community, we need to make sure our students have the same educational experience as every other student in America.
Kara Warner is an upcoming author, blogger, and educator from Omaha, NE, by way of Hammond, IN. She has placed much emphasis on supporting, and becoming an advocate for women and youth who struggle with self- esteem, image, and perception issues.
In 2009, Kara founded a program entitled, ‘Beauty Is Skin Deep Movement, Inc.” in order to reconstruct the perception and image of women of color in American society. She has conducted classes for the YMCA, Urban League of Nebraska, Middle School Learning Center, and Girls Incorporated of Omaha.
Kara is currently working on a book titled, ” False Feelings Appearing Real”, a compilation of experiences and stories by women who have, throughout their life, struggled with understanding their feelings and are now learning how to cope with them.
Follow Kara @Conquistanoir (IG) Livelifwpurpose (Twitter)