In today’s schools a visitor can walk through the halls and often guess which level of classes are being taught based on the racial composition of the classroom. The achievement gap between races has been exacerbated by AP and gifted programs that track students. This tracking often dictates a student’s career path and future earning potential. AP and gifted classes, therefore, not only segregate students but perpetuate the never ending caste system known as America’s socio-economic ladder.
Brown v. Board of Education ruled that separate schools were inherently unequal and the landmark ruling led to the slow physical integration of America’s schools. However, segregation still exist within schools with the expectation and passive acceptance that students of color will trend toward general education classes. These “general eds” are often taught by new or inexperienced teachers with an expectation that achievement levels will be lower than their peers next door in AP. Like Brown v. Board of Education this dichotomy of AP and general education classes is inherently unequal.
There are evidence-based strategies for improving achievement levels of marginalized students. As long as a separate school system exist within a school it gives schools an out when addressing accountability for achievement gaps. A school may appear to be delivering a Free and Appropriate Public Education but in reality tracking serves as an inadequate solution derived from the inappropriate funding of the two-school system. Furthermore, the tax paying parents of students of color may not be aware that they’re essential paying for inequity. To address this inequality in America’s schools Equity4Education proposes the following:
- Defund all AP and Gifted classes
- Fund evidence-based strategies that narrow the achievement gap and give students of color a voice
- Increase funding for early education