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Barriers to equal opportunity in education

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On 10/13/2020 at 1:55 PM, MigL said:

The first cause for concern was a 1965 report by a Democrat D Moynihan.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_family_structure

It is areal phenomenon, not imaginary.
But its cause is rooted in systemic poverty of Black Americans.

I'm familiar with this old study. Did you know that part of the figure for absent black fathers comes from two things; black fathers who were in prison due to racial profiling and overly punitive sentences, and black fathers who were in fact in their childrens lives but just didn't live in the same home as their children. Basically, a fair portion of that figure were actually black fathers who were sitting down to a family meal with their children almost everyday, who were being labeled as absent fathers purely because they didn't have the same address as their children.

There are also similar figures for white fathers absences. In a questionnaire delivered to kids as part of a more modern study, it turned out that black fathers on average spend more quality time with their children than white fathers do. Even when that white father lives in the same household as their children. 

You also need to keep in mind that at the time of that particular study, racial discrimination was more rampant and the people involved in producing that study, ultimately misled people into thinking that black people were more likely to be bad fathers than white people. It's just not true, that study was extremely flawed and the intent behind it seemed to be used to justify more negative stereotypes of black people. I'm saying this as a white person too, so it's not like I am biased toward debunking this because I'm black. I've seen figures of student demographics in a number of different schools and the pass rates for historically disadvantaged people from ethnicity to disability, are truly shocking.

Even if the study wasn't dubious, it's from 1965. What makes you think it is still relevant today?

I misspoke slightly when I wrote that OP, owing to being pissed off at the time (I really need to stop posting things when I'm in a mood, doing no one any favours that way).

On paper, most institutions are against discrimination in most forms. Which is great, except the individuals they hire, from admissions to faculty, are capable of being biased, racist and ableist and they are capable of hiding this. Which leads to a bias within the institution where staff are allowed a great deal of freedom to practice as much discrimination as they like, by citing some unrelated and irrelevant reason as to why they went ahead with a prejudicial act and since the higher ups claim that their institution is against such acts, they close ranks and double down on the discrimination in order to defend their staff. 

It's gotten to the point where in some schools, even suggesting that you may be being treated unfairly due to a protected characteristic, is seen as more egregious and wrong than someone who is discriminating based on those characteristics and lying about it. 

Personal responsibility cuts both ways. Staff and student both. Students have a personal responsibility to care about and want an education; just as staff in schools have a legal and personal responsibility to give equal access to that education and to make reasonable adjustments for students who are disadvantaged through no fault of their own. 

Here is what disadvantaged people have to go through to take personal responsibility for their education under the current formats; they are expected to do the same coursework as their peers with less support and less resources, they are expected to keep silent about all the little ways the school makes things harder for them vs the majority of it's students. They are expected to show tolerance toward the implicit and explicit biases and prejudices of their peers and the institution itself, even though it makes college life far more difficult for them than it does for the majority of it's other students.

A simple analogy, the disadvantaged are being asked to run a race with a ball and chain in tow, against others who have no such ball and chain and they have to give the unchained a head start too. Despite the ball and chain, some people still finish the race. However if you were to ask one of the people that didn't finish why they weren't able to finish when others did, they would say this; because not everyone can finish a race with a ball and chain attached to them and it's extremely demoralising to know that you're going to be unfairly compared to someone who ran the race without that ball and chain. It is not an excuse to say "I couldn't finish the race because I had a ball and chain attached" it's a reason, it's a cause.

Now I'm not saying there are not people who just can't be bothered to put the effort in when they are given a chance at education without the balls and chains. They are a minority though, so generalising every drop out, every person who does not have a degree, as not having it because they didn't want it enough, doesn't take into account the individuals who put up obstacles specifically meant for them. 

Now; if schools now were as inclusive as it is possible for them to be, then I'd maybe not have posted this at all, I'd maybe not have given up on physics because a teacher said I should since they thought I wasn't "PhD material". Probably because in a school that is truly inclusive, would never have deemed it acceptable for any teacher to be allowed to say such a thing to someone who was disabled and the first of their family to get into higher education. 

Schools aren't that inclusive though, until they are then maybe they should focus less on putting the lions share of the fault on students and more on themselves. Until they are more inclusive, blaming their students who are keen to learn and keen to contribute to society is mostly an attempt to reject any consequences to their own actions and policies when they naturally trip up the disadvantaged. 

Maybe I am biased toward this perspective because I am from a disadvantaged group of people in multiple ways, but that doesn't make me wrong when I say that schools could absolutely do more to produce more competent graduates from all walks of life. Maybe I've just been going to the wrong schools or have been unlucky with the staff I've ended up dealing with. It's not easy to figure out if the contributing common denominator is me or the system of education, however those figures I spoke of earlier would suggest that I can only contribute so much when the school system is failing people.

It's important to keep in mind that some people aren't giving up on their education. They are giving up on the school that is failing to give them one. As Mark Twain says "Never let your schooling get in the way of your education."

P.S sorry for the lateness of my response but I was on my hiatus when you commented about that study, but I've been dying to tackle it since you said it.

Edited by MSC
Mistake

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Welcome back to the 'sparring' match, MSC.

You've outlined many reasons why Black American fathers aren't ( or weren't ) in the home.
Most of them valid.

But that doesn't change the fact that a lot of Black American children are born to homes without a father present.
And,as the mother then becomes the sole provider, and has to work, a lot of these kids don't even make it through high school.
Whatever the reasons for the fathers not being there, even you must admit that makes the situation a lot worse for the kids, and leads to a cycle of poverty.

 The study I quoted is freely available to all, and I would say that, far from being irrelevant because of its age, things have actually gotten worse in the past 60 years, and not just for Black Americans, but for all groups surveyed.
Meanwhile you claim a study, for which you give no link, that 'quality' time is what's really important, neglecting to mention how subjective 'quality' is.
( is being your child's friend higher quality than being his parent ? The two are very different and we both know which is more important, yet better 'quality' depends on whether you ask the parent or the child )

Mind you this is mostly opinion, and understand,I'm not saying that is the only problem. There are many problems to equal opportunity. The large majority of them depend on the group that is doing the oppressing, as opposed to the disadvantaged group. So you can go through life depending on others to fix problems ( and we both know there will be resistance to this ), or you can take the initiative and fix any problems that are in your power to fix.
Last time I checked that was called 'responsibility'.

Oh, and I appreciate that my comments 'interested' you :) .

 

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4 hours ago, MigL said:

But that doesn't change the fact that a lot of Black American children are born to homes without a father present.
And,as the mother then becomes the sole provider, and has to work, a lot of these kids don't even make it through high school.
Whatever the reasons for the fathers not being there, even you must admit that makes the situation a lot worse for the kids, and leads to a cycle of poverty.

Oh absolutely I'd agree with that. I experienced it myself, except it was my mother that left. I was 5 and she walked out on us and was gone for awhile. That being said; she was still a lot more present and emotionally available than my father, who would essentially have arguments with my teachers using me as a proxy. It was like it didn't matter what I was taught, to him, he'd already decided that I was stupid and couldn't be right about anything. Kind of takes the genetic fallacy to a whole new meaning there. Irony. 

4 hours ago, MigL said:

The study I quoted is freely available to all, and I would say that, far from being irrelevant because of its age, things have actually gotten worse in the past 60 years, and not just for Black Americans, but for all groups surveyed.
Meanwhile you claim a study, for which you give no link, that 'quality' time is what's really important, neglecting to mention how subjective 'quality' is.
( is being your child's friend higher quality than being his parent ? The two are very different and we both know which is more important, yet better 'quality' depends on whether you ask the parent or the child )

That's because I was working from memory and got a few details wrong. My bad. I've digged it up and attached it now. The subjective aspect of 'quality' would impact all demographics however. There is a strong likelihood that 1-5% of the present parents, from all backgrounds are abusers and I wouldn't even care to try and guess what percentage were avoidably negligent. I say avoidably as it has already been pointed out by others that it is much more difficult for working class parents to be able to spend quality time with their kids without sacrificing on their required time to earn enough for the basic needs of housing, energy, clothing and food on the table.

Which I think brings us to the most important aspect of this debate. Class based demographics. 

I can accept that we might never have schools that don't unfairly discriminate, but I don't think I can accept a society where the ability to bring discriminating individuals to justice, is determined by how deep your pockets or your parents pockets are.

Which bring us to something extremely important. Probably the barrier we should e focussing on most.

Here is something that is definitely true; it is illegal to discriminate based on race, ethnicity, religion, marriage, sexual orientation, gender.. It is not currently illegal however, to discriminate based on class or caste. They are not protected characteristics. There would be little to stop me or anyone else from denying equality to people because of their socio-economic background. There are means tested scholarships available but it tends to go that either their aren't enough of them for everyone who wants one, or there is no guidance on how to apply for them when they are under applied for. It's why I really like the look of the University of Arizona in Tuscon. They are one of the few institutions that I know of that seem to go the extra mile and try their best to make sure your education is financially achievable and that funding is smooth and debtless. Sucks that it is so far away though. We'd have to uproot and move again and we are thinking of buying a house here in IL...

Sorry, I'm rambling. Suffice it to say, I think this has been a constructive discussion for all involved. 

4 hours ago, MigL said:

So you can go through life depending on others to fix problems ( and we both know there will be resistance to this ), or you can take the initiative and fix any problems that are in your power to fix.
Last time I checked that was called 'responsibility'.

Oh, and I appreciate that my comments 'interested' you

You know I study philosophy and ethics. So you must know by now that you've already opened up a whole can of worms in the subjects of power, control and responsibility, right? I think the stoics and taoists put it best with The Archer. You can draw the bow perfectly, do everything within your control to give yourself the best chance of hitting your mark, and still fail because you cannot control the wind. In this analogy, I see other people as wind. I know I can't control them, I don't want to control them. Yet I can't pretend it is raining when really people are pissing on all of our legs.

nhsr071.pdf

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10 minutes ago, MSC said:

I think the stoics and taoists put it best with The Archer. You can draw the bow perfectly, do everything within your control to give yourself the best chance of hitting your mark, and still fail because you cannot control the wind. In this analogy, I see other people as wind. I know I can't control them, I don't want to control them. Yet I can't pretend it is raining when really people are pissing on all of our legs.

+1

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1 hour ago, MSC said:

You can draw the bow perfectly, do everything within your control to give yourself the best chance of hitting your mark, and still fail because you cannot control the wind.

I like it too, +1.

In life, you try to control what you can.
A good archer will move to a position to shoot with the wind; not cross, or against, it.
It beats never shooting your arrow, or railing at the uncontrollable wind.

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10 hours ago, MigL said:

I like it too, +1.

In life, you try to control what you can.
A good archer will move to a position to shoot with the wind; not cross, or against, it.
It beats never shooting your arrow, or railing at the uncontrollable wind.

The issue is when some archers are allowed to move and others are not.

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16 minutes ago, CharonY said:

The issue is when some archers are allowed to move and others are not.

This set of visuals really helps put it into perspective. Some archers are shooting on still days well lit and flat, while others are shooting into a hurricane in the dark from uneven terrain and yet are getting judged by the same standard.

Teaching about privilege:

https://www.boredpanda.com/lesson-about-privilege-awareness/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

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