Right to Education Based On Race
Over the years, the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has been facing a challenge in remedying the large disparity in the inequality of the nation’s education system. Past researches have ascertained that the Black, Latino, and Native American communities have less chances of receiving quality education compared to the white American population in the United States. This is despite the fact that education is a vital component of the society’s growth and development. Furthermore, education promotes identity, social cohesion, citizenship, social inclusion, economic growth as well as equality in the attainment of the opportunities. This essay discusses on how the race of people in the United States impacts their right to education.
Introduction of the Human Rights Struggle/Issue of Concern
For over five decades, the aspect of racial inequality in securing quality education has been an imminent problem in the American society. During the 1960s, most African-American, Native American, and Latino students were educated in fully segregated learning institutions that were funded at very low rates (Civil Rights 101, 2016). On the other hand, learning institutions that were serving the White American communities possessed much better conditions. Learners from the marginalized communities in the U.S. were also excluded from obtaining positions in highest learning institutions of the nation. The termination of legal segregation in education in 1970 led to the creation of efforts focused on equalizing of the amount of public funds spent on all educational institutions in the United States (Civil Rights 101, 2016).
Even so, the educational possibilities of the minority students in the U.S. today continue to be significantly separate and unequal. This is because approximately two-thirds of minority learners still attend learning institutions that are largely purposed to educate minorities (APA, 2012). Such schools are situated in the central cities and are funded at rates well below those learning institutions bordering the suburban districts. Recent financial reports prepared by learning institutions in New York, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana and New Jersey can also validate the aspect of racial inequality in the U.S. education system (Baker, Sciarra & Farrie, 2010). From qualified trainers to educational curriculum offerings, schools serving learners of color attain significantly fewer resources as opposed to learning institutions serving students from the white population.
Today, inequitable financial distributions of the learning institutions impose disproportionate harm to the minorities as well as economically disadvantaged learners in the U.S. In most cases, such learners live in the states that are primarily in the Southern region of the nation. In addition, these states have the least potential of financing public education. Moreover, most of economically destitute learners are situated in property-poor urban districts that perform the worst in terms of education expenditures. Such are also the rural districts that suffer immensely as a result of fiscal inequity.
Today, the United States spend more funds on education compared to the majority of other nations in the world. Nevertheless, more funds spent on the education system does not mean educational improvement for the nation. In fact, the American education system has become a challenging rife, starting with the endemic inequality between white students and students from other communities in the nation. There is an urgent need to address this issue because as the number of white students in the learning institutions reduces, the proportionate number of learners from other race communities continues to grow. If the problem is not resolved, the U.S. government will be left with an education system that is incapable of fulfilling the needs of the majority of all students adequately.
Human Rights Analysis
The issue of racial inequality due in terms of education is a concern for human rights advocates in the American society. Fundamentally, by denying children’s equal rights to education, the United States Education Department violates the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights entitles all people – both children and adults – to receiving equal opportunities and treatment (Gilg, 2012). Nevertheless, in the American education system, children from marginalized ethnic groupings are denied their basic fundamental rights. This can be portrayed by the unequal distribution of educational resources between schools that are traditionally meant for the White Americans and the learning institutions attended by the children from the marginalized communities in the American society.
The racial inequality in education infringes human rights according to the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) (Williams & Reynolds, 2015). The Act was passed in 1975 to protect all people in the United States from being treated unjustly because of their racial background, nationality, and immigration status (Williams & Reynolds, 2015). Such unfair treatment could be based on denying people their equal rights to education, employment, accommodation, access to public services as well as attaining or using various services. In addition, numerous other federal and local laws in the United States protect children from discrimination in education in terms of their disability, HIV status, sexual orientation, and pregnancy. Any form of inequality and refusing children’s equal rights to education due to their races is prosecutable in a court of law.
There are various reasons why racial inequality in education is a major concern for the international communities. The first reason is that UNESCO has created a Convention Against Discrimination in Education (1960). The Convention disapproves all actions of a person or a group of people which deny others to have access to education of any type or at any level of learning. It also classifies it as illegal to limit any person or a group of people to only attaining inferior standards of education. The Convention Against Discrimination in Education also contributes to the reason why the international community is interested in ensuring children’s equal opportunity for quality education regardless of their racial or ethnic backgrounds (APA, 2012). In addition, according to the Convention, the discrimination of people in education violates the enunciated rights that the declaration stipulates.
Furthermore, the Education for All Act (EFA) has created a global commitment that warrants the provision of quality basic education to all children, youth as well as adults (Lowey & Reichert, 2013). In 2000, one hundred and sixty-four countries pledged to implement strategies for achieving education for all people during that year’s World Education Forum (Lowey & Reichert, 2013). At the forum, there were six goals that were structured and aimed at attaining the purpose of having equal education for all by 2015. The entities that were working together creating a plan to achieve such goals included governments, civil societies, the private sector, and multilateral and development agencies.
In addition, UNESCO was mandated with the responsibility of coordinating partnerships between different nations in an effort to attain success in the Education for All initiative. By 2015, significant progress had been made although some nations were offering more support to the successful accomplishment of the EFA compared to others (Williams & Reynolds, 2015). UNESCO emphasized on the need to strengthen the total political commitment of different nations in procuring the needed education resources. This would ensure that the nations warrant equal education opportunities for all people regardless of their racial origin.
The United Nations (UN), through its Sustainable Development Goals initiative, has aggressively been involved in the enactment of measures aimed at reducing all forms of inequality directed towards people in different nations. Such inequalities include the education disparity which bases on students’ racial backgrounds. In addition, UNESCO has also been highly involved in structuring measures to fulfill the sustainable development goals of promoting racial equality to all citizens of every country. The organization has also focused on the creation of equitable learning opportunities for all people regardless of gender or ethnic backgrounds.
Furthermore, UNICEF, which was established in 1946, has also been immensely involved in the promotion of rights to attain quality education for all children (History, 2016). The primary goals of the organization entail reducing inequalities as well as discrimination of students according to their ethnicity backgrounds. In addition, the organization is focused on ensuring that all children attain an opportunity to learn both during and after a crisis. Other international bodies that have been lobbying for equality in education include Save the Children, Plan International as well as the Education International.
The human rights as a formal legal structure can be employed more effectively as a tool for developing new policies. Such are policies aimed at enforcing the equitable distribution of different educational resources to all institutions in the nation. In addition, the human rights as a legal structure should be employed as a framework designed to ensure that the distribution of all educational resources should be equitable and transparent. In addition, the legal structures which advocate human rights can also be utilized as a tool for removing non-initiative leaders in the United States Department of Education and, in turn, replacing them with other managers capable of performing their duties.
An example of such non-performing leaders could be those who have failed to address the problem of racial inequality in education. This is because it is a primary problem of numerous learning institutions dominated by children from the marginalized communities in the United States. In addition, the human rights can also be used as a tool to expose the incompetence of an existing government in its failure to promote the national democracy to all citizens. Due to its failure to address all the provisions stated in the Bill of Rights all individuals should be entitled to equivalent treatment and the right to attain a quality education.
The society members can remedy this issue through mass manifestations of the importance of maintaining equal treatment of all individuals irrespective of race or ethnic groupings in the society. The law makers should also be focused on educating the public in terms of the importance of equality as a key aspect of promoting the national democracy of the United States. People can also solve this issue by educating children at all levels of learning the importance of promoting equality when treating others in the society regardless of the race, gender, or sexual orientation of all people. Although this could be a gradual process, in the long-run it will eradicate the issue of racial inequality in the American Society.
In addition, enlightened people should educate others on the importance of promoting racial equality in education through holding public forums in social gathering centers. Such centers could include community halls, entertainment centers, school halls, and religious centers among others. Constant discussions on the issue of inequality will make the public aware of the importance of promoting quality education for everyone. It will also aid them in understanding the importance of collective quality education for all in fostering the growth of the nation’s economy.
Furthermore, people who hail from the marginalized societies in the United States should also lobby for the amendment of legislations that would aid in promoting equality in learning institutions. Such efforts can be facilitated by the state representatives and other public leaders who can represent the affected minorities in the Senate. In addition, a collective efforts made by all members of society can help to raise donations to help the worst affected learning institutions. Organizations can use such donations for purchasing extra high quality learning materials for the learners to boost their performance.
In conclusion, the problem of racial inequality in the United States’ education system has been prevalent for decades. This is because schools meant for the Black, Latino, and Native American communities have been offered less chances of securing a quality education. The reason is, the majority of schools propose their services mainly for White American children. The challenge has been prevalent since the 1960s when most Latino, African, and Native American students could reveive education in fully segregated learning institutions. Denying a person a chance to equal attitude in education infringes the Bill of Rights that states that all people are entitled to receive similar opportunities and treatment in their lives. Such inequality also infringes the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) that protects the same positions as the aforementioned document. In addition, the international community has tried to eradicate racial inequality in education through the creation of the Convention Against Discrimination in Education in 1960. UNESCO has also been chairing global conventions aimed at addressing discrimination in education. The Education for All (EFA) initiative has also created a global commitment in warranting the provision of quality basic education for all children, youth, and adults. Having all things considered, it is important to preserve equality in all aspect of human life, especially in education, to strengthen the society bonds and improve the general well-being of America.