Education aux etats unis

Pages: 13 (3101 mots) Publié le: 2 avril 2011
From Brown v. Board of Education (1954) to Williams v. California (2004), the American education has proven to be a subject of a heated debate between the courts, the federal government, parents and the different racial groups in the US. Desegregation, busing, funding policies, school vouchers, charter schools, school choice and integration are key issues throughout the history of Americaneducation. The goal of these reforms is an equal educational system that could provide all the students –regardless of their gender or race- with equal opportunities for success. Little by little, citizens and legislators became aware that educational quality and financing are major requirements for a socially and economically successful nation. However, American education is marked by a series ofsuccesses and failures. Indeed, the American educational system remains unequally separated along racial lines. Despite all the reforms, American education continues to suffer from a substantial race-related gap in academic achievement with Whites and Asians on the high end of the spectrum and Latinos and African Americans on the lower end. The processes that generate this racial disparity in academicperformance are the subject of many researches. In The Source of the River and Taming the River, M C L F (here after MCLF) addresses the question of the academic underachievement among minority students in elite colleges, especially in their first two years as undergraduates. In their investigation, they found that many factors could explain the performance gap between minorities and whites.These factors include academic preparation, social environment and interactions, parental contribution, cultural capital, financial pressures, stereotype threat…
As an active reader, it is always important to analyze the different arguments given by authors and to think critically about how they support them. In this report, (cite the 4 points)…
First, the argument I agree with is the one thatMCLF make about stereotype threat in Taming the River. The authors ask: Does the consciousness of a stereotype cause the minority to underperform or even drop out at elite colleges? The stereotype threat, also called the stereotype effect, is a concept created by Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson. They define it as “being at risk of confirming, as self characteristic, a negative stereotype aboutone’s group.” MCLF claims that stereotype threat theory could explain the underachievement gap between whites and non-whites. I agree with the authors’ claims -to a certain extent- for several reasons. Indeed, in American society, people are subconsciously influenced by stereotypes. They are spread implicitly through cultural means such as posters, advertisements, historical figures, professors,teachers, parents, books and magazines. Stereotypes can shape the educational opportunities offered to minorities. For example, educators might think that minorities won’t be interested in taking college preparation classes and hence they won’t receive information or advertisements directed towards their demographic. Teachers can promote these racial stereotypes by expressing astonishment at aminority’s academic accomplishment or appearance at a college preparation class.
If people are constantly exposed to these stereotypes in their daily life, they can end up assimilating with and behaving according to them. Moreover, when somebody is exposed to a stereotype about their own racial group during a long period of time, they start absorbing it and believing in it. Being constantly exposed to astereotype of their own group can become very challenging to minority students as they try to fit into a diverse social environment. As soon as they discover the different stereotypes made about their group regarding their intellectual ability, they start challenging these stereotypes. This process can be a barrier to their intellectual self-esteem, which could represent an additional pressure...
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