Social prejudice in schools Essay

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Social prejudice in schools

Children from middle-class families generally are more successful in public schools than children from low-income families. Is the school system responsible for this problem, or is lower performance among low-income children a result of their home environment? The home environment has a big role in a child’s education and if it is not supportive of the school environment, the student will not be as successful in school as the child whose home environment is supportive of the school’s learning environment will.

The typical public school teacher is a middle-class white female. The typical curricula, tests, and learning tools used in public schools were created by middle-class educators and are
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So do teachers assume that poor and minority students are misbehaved and non-conforming? In Ain’t No Makin’ It, MacLeod told us that the “Hallway Hangers” (low-income “problem” students who would not behave or conform in school) responded better to the teacher (Jimmy Sullivan) that they identified as being a part of their same social class. The Hallway Hangers respected their teacher because he was raised in the projects where the students now live, he talked the way they did; he was tough and stubborn just like they were. The other (middle-class) teachers were found by the Hallway Hangers to be “condescending” and “pussies” that “ ‘don’t know how to deal with us kids’ ” (MacLeod, 108-109). Clearly, a teacher who understood their “language” and behavior and identified with their social background was able to communicate with them and help them at least to stay in school. Teachers who couldn’t relate to lower-class students weren’t respected by those students. In their book, Social Foundations of Educational Decisions, Fischer and Thomas state that distinctive things about a subculture (including language and behavior) have a definite influence on a child’s learning style (26-27) and that “informal education”—which occurs outside of a formal school setting (mostly in the home) and is different in every family and subculture—causes differences in the way children learn (34).

In their essay “Social Class and Education,” Brookover and Gottlieb refer to
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