Manual The success ethic, education, and the American dream

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As that list suggests, enabling all individuals to achieve absolute success would be a triumph indeed; no society has attained it. The serious pursuit of this goal can be controversial because it can imply the provision of more educational resources to some students than to others so that all may have a chance of success regardless of their initial endowments or family context.

For most parents, absolute success is a threshold that they want their children to move beyond. Relative success is egalitarian if it applies an equal standard of measurement to all, but it is inegalitarian in the sense that some individuals will do better than others.


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Most Americans assume that in a properly functioning system of relative success in schooling, some — but not all -- children will achieve permanent upward mobility or in some other way be better off than their parents they seldom consider the possibility of corresponding downward mobility or declines in satisfaction. Some parents go even further, and expect schools to provide their children with an advantage over other children. A system of district boundaries and a method of school finance based on local wealth can, for example, create or maintain a privileged competitive position for some children.

Competitive success might but need not imply initial equality of opportunity to seek victory, but beyond that starting point opportunities are to be taken and advantages used, not redistributed to those with fewer. The pursuit of success for individual students is further complicated by different visions of the American dream, and thus disagreement over what schools should teach. The ideology of the American dream is itself agnostic on what counts as success, but its liberal neutrality can lead to disputes over whether teachers should be drilling students in the basics or encouraging them to follow their imaginations and let the correct spelling come later.

Just as most Americans endorse some variant of the American dream, most agree that schools are a crucial locus for training children to become democratic citizens. The first is a common core of knowledge. Americans abhor the apocryphal? But they do generally agree that all students in the United States should end their schooling with some shared learning.

They should know the rudiments of American history; they should be able to communicate in English; they should have basic literacy and numeracy; and they should understand basic rules of politics and society such as the purpose of elections and the meaning of the rule of law. Closely allied with the goal of a common core of knowledge is the desire for students to graduate with a common set of values.

Those values include loyalty to the nation, acceptance of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution as venerable founding documents, appreciation that in American constitutionalism rights sometimes trump majority rule and majority rule is supposed to trump intense desire, belief in the rule of law as the proper grounding for a legal system, belief in equal opportunity as the proper grounding for a social system, willingness to adhere to the discipline implied by rotation in office through an electoral system, and so on.

They also include economic and social values such as the work ethic, self-reliance, and trustworthiness. The ability to deal with, if not warm to, diverse others is a third collective value which Americans want schools to inculcate. At the time of the founding, the most volatile dimensions of diversity were varying Christian faiths and different views of monarchical governance. In subsequent generations, the list of things we expect students to learn to tolerate and cope with has lengthened to include differences by political and social ideology, class, region, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability.

Most people agree that the best way to teach mutual tolerance is to have students learn in casual contact with others unlike themselves; that is why public schools have always been under great pressure to admit all students within their duly designated district. Private schools were permitted to be parochial, but public schools were not. The greatest exception to this point, of course, was racial segregation, which we address below. A fourth collective goal of schooling is teaching democratic practices. These include: following properly designated procedures, negotiating rather than using violence to secure what you want, respecting those who disagree, taking turns, expressing your own views persuasively, organizing with others for change, competing fairly, and winning or losing gracefully.

Schools and teachers negotiate this tension differently, depending mostly on the age and social class of their students, although they can never resolve it. Fifth, Americans expect schools to participate in the broad social goal of providing equal opportunity for all children. Equality of opportunity is a protean goal — it is as important in the American dream of individual success described above as in democratic governance. We discuss it here because its collective implications require more change in schooling policy than do its individual implications.

After all, if unfair disadvantages into which one is born persist into adulthood, one is unlikely to be able to participate fully in public affairs. For some people, that is a matter of simple injustice that should be rectified if it can be. Others calculate, more instrumentally, that even if they themselves do not suffer these disadvantages, they do not want their children to have to confront the specter of second-class citizens and to compensate for their social, economic, and political drawbacks.

Thus it is in the interests of everyone for schools to do what they can to transform inequalities of birth into equality of adult citizenship. And strong efforts to promote one or several of these specific goals are likely to conflict with strong efforts to promote others of them. But the deepest dilemmas for public schools lie not within each of these two values but between them, and among them and the third, most contentious, one.

Claims to distinctive treatment for particular groups have two roots. One origin is the demand for respect of the educational rights of individual children who were treated unjustly because of some ascriptive characteristic. In the nineteenth century, for example, reformers insisted that girls deserved access to public schooling just as much as boys did. In the twentieth century, Brown v. Board of Education held that, once a state committed itself to a system of public education, black children were unconstitutionally deprived if they could not participate in that system on the same terms as white children.

Thus, for example, the claim that blacks would be better off if members of their own race controlled their educational system. Only that arrangement, in this view, can provide the same autonomy, respect, and cultural self-definition that whites have always enjoyed. The second root of group-based claims is itself based on group identity rather than individual treatment. In the mid-nineteenth century, Catholic leaders vigorously opposed the Protestant pedagogy of the new public schools. Demands for respect for group identities are highly volatile.

Some of these desires affect schooling practices but do not speak to the purposes of education. Others, however, do. Teachers may be asked to change their pedagogical techniques to accommodate the more cooperative style of girls or the more physically-oriented learning preferences of young African American boys.

Similarly, educators may also be asked to change the curriculum to teach in more than one language, to describe American history as a story of oppression rather than unbridled progress, or to teach all subjects from an Afrocentric rather than a Eurocentric perspective. What is predictable is that all of these efforts can expect sooner or later probably sooner to be discordant with the highest priorities of those focused on other groups, and with the priorities of educators and parents focused on the two most basic values.

Many of those who have thought most carefully about the purposes of public education have insisted with Benjamin Franklin that the core goals of individual success and democratic governance must be united and that neither may supercede the other. The first three focus on varied forms of individual success. The fourth and sixth focus on participation in the public arena. The fifth combines both goals. Based on these principles, Jefferson designed an elaborate system of public elementary and secondary education for all white children of Virginia, to be publicly subsidized for those who could not afford it.

S… history. Finally, Americans occasionally endorse schooling claims of particular groups in ways that are inconsistent with their general verbal support for the goal of democratic inclusiveness. Some school practices can in fact foster the two basic values, or even all three values, simultaneously. Enabling the brightest students to learn as much as they can not only bolsters them as individuals but also increases the possibility that they benefit the nation through discoveries, insights, or leadership. Ensuring that all students are verbally and mathematically competent helps them to live satisfying lives at the same time that it makes them better democratic citizens.

Teaching foreign students to speak English makes their transition into the American workplace easier as well as reinforcing the cultural core so essential to a huge and diverse democracy. Showing respect for the identity of students who are outside the racial or cultural mainstream encourages them to achieve while teaching all students to be mutually tolerant.

Allowing some children to be educated separately might enhance their individual success as well as respecting their distinctiveness. However, amity and balance do not usually reign. In the actual practice of schooling, fostering what is good for all may divert resources from one or some; what shows respect for the identity of some may violate the convictions of others or distort democratic practices; what encourages success for the brightest or luckiest may deny opportunity for the weakest or unluckiest. When choices must be made and priorities determined -- under pressure from demographic change, political demands, fiscal limits, global competition, competing values, or fear -- then one goal or another is likely to take precedence.

The history of previous tradeoffs among goals itself shapes the context within which new choices must be made. In the s, with many people fearing economic challenges from abroad and reduced opportunities for success at home, the emphasis shifted even more than previously to individual achievement, and parents engaged in an intense competition for advantage in educational or fiscal resources.

Most recently, demands for group respect that started as a drive for integration in the s have sometimes been transformed into advocacy for separate schools or distinct treatment within common schools. Over time, the combination of multiple goals, competing interests, and a fragmented governance structure has created considerable incoherence in policy and instability in decision making. As one goal takes precedence and then is replaced by another, some policies, institutions, and practices continue to function well in the new environment.

Others, however, become relics that create an inappropriate policy emphasis, use a disproportionate amount of resources, or otherwise distort the system. Too much bureaucracy may remain from Progressive era attempts to deal with demographic change; too much willingness to accept an unequal educational system, or to jettison public schooling entirely, may be the legacy of fear from the s; too much separatism may be the consequence of the newest demand for group rights and respect.

We cannot in this paper analyze the layers remaining from previous emphases on one goal or another, or sort out the many ways in which the values combine, coincide, or conflict. We will, instead, look briefly at several major policy disputes in which the interaction among values has crucially shaped schooling policy, practice, and outcomes.

The elimination of de jure segregation was essential to permit equal educational opportunity for all children. In principle, it provided a greater chance for children of all races to attain success, it enhanced the ability of the United States to become a fully democratic community, and it ensured that African Americans would be recognized as full citizens.

Envy and the American Dream

Thus the elimination of de jure segregation reinforced both of the values central to American public education. Most Americans concur on the necessity and even desirability of desegregated schooling. In the two decades after , the proportion who agreed that black and white children should attend the same schools rose from fewer than two-thirds to over 90 percent. Over 40 percent of whites were unwilling to send their child to a school in which half or more of the students were black in ; that figure has since declined to fewer than 20 percent.

In one important sense the practice of school desegregation promoted the two basic values. The most careful studies of desegregated schools show that, when properly implemented, the African American children involved showed improved achievement scores, more attainment of schooling, greater college attendance, and more adult participation in integrated jobs and neighborhoods. There is no systematic evidence that desegregation hurt the achievement of white children, and arguably it made them more inclined to respect and live among African Americans as adults. In , four in ten Americans thought desegregated schools had improved the quality of education for blacks; by , six in ten did.

The proportion who thought desegregated schools had improved the quality of education for whites increased over the same period from one quarter to almost half. By , two-thirds saw improvement, and fewer than three in ten saw worsening. School desegregation has, of course, been tried only in a limited way and was often implemented in a fashion that seemed designed to ensure its academic and political failure.

It has too often been imposed without sensitivity to the real allegiance of both blacks and whites to local governance, neighborhood schools, or well-known teachers and administrators. It often did not sufficiently recognize that parents were worried that their children would be uncomfortable, unable to learn, or even physically endangered if they were in the minority in a tense situation.

Legitimate opposition occurred for all of these reasons, among others. Thus in a different and larger sense the policy of mandated school desegregation has not succeeded in fostering the basic goals of education. White opponents argued that individual white children would suffer, and that the pursuit of collective goals could not be allowed to outweigh the pursuit of individual success. More recently, black opponents have argued that individual black children also are harmed, or at least that they are not benefited enough to offset the costs imposed on individuals or the damage that desegregation does to the racial identity of children and the black community.

By the mids, about one third of black children were educated in majority white schools, but another third continued to attend schools that approach percent minority black and Hispanic population. The typical Anglo student in the mids had between 5 percent and 20 percent blacks in his or her school, depending on how urban the community was. But the convergence has been arrested in the s. Thus school desegregation brought Americans part but not all of the way toward putting into practice their ideals of using schools to enable individual success and prepare for democratic governance.

Mandated desegregated schooling may be the right policy for a democratic society, it may be the best way to guarantee the same educational opportunities for children of all races, and it may have been a successful method to enhance the chances of individual success — but it is not a viable policy option because individual fears as well as concerns about group identities have overwhelmed broader, collective values. Once it became clear that opposition to mandated racial desegregation would prevent most further efforts, reformers shifted their focus from the redistribution of students to the redistribution of resources.

They argued that equal school funding -- or at least funding at a level to permit absolute and relative success for most students -- was essential for the American dream to be something other than a hypocritical cover for maintaining class privilege. If education had to be separate for most poor, often black, children, they wanted it at least to be equal. They believed that these children warranted the same training to enable them to pursue success as better-off children, and that poor communities have the same claim to public respect as wealthy ones.

As with school desegregation, most Americans agree, in theory. Since , between 70 and 90 percent of Americans have endorsed an equal allocation of public education funds to all students regardless of their wealth. Results are similar in state-level polls that ask about support for particular measures to equalize funding. But as with school desegregation, many politicians who have tried to redistribute funds have been punished in the next election.

Legislatures have found it politically very difficult to redistribute schools funds, except under threat of court order. Again like school desegregation, the courts moved into the void; of the state supreme courts that have considered this issue, half have found grounds in their state constitutions to require greater equality in funding school districts. Some e. Even when the public has approved new funding formulas, the new ratios of funding have often proved difficult to sustain. In short, although a great deal more money is now available for education, and some places have achieved much greater equity, there has been an acrimonious debate for twenty-five years about the level of funding to which all children should be entitled and particularly about the obligation of all citizens to pay for the schooling of poor children.

Again like the controversy over school desegregation, the debate over funding equality has involved other issues, such as corruption, management efficiency, program impact, and especially the relationship between financial reform and achievement outcomes. Many parents, particularly those who worked hard to move to a district with better schools, see little reason to subsidize the districts they left. Many parents, anxious for the success of their children, have little desire to use their resources to level the playing field; privileged parents naturally want to pass on their privileges to their children.

Thus while all adults accept responsibility to finance a basic education for everyone, there is little consensus beyond that on the proper relationship between the pursuit or maintenance of competitive advantage and the goal of equal opportunity. As most commonly understood, multicultural education seeks to be inclusionary and mutually respectful by exposing all students to the array of cultural heritages represented in the school, district, state, or nation.

It is an attempt to redefine American culture away from that of the culturally dominant Anglo-Saxon Protestant majority, and thereby to enrich it. During the s, most Americans came to endorse this understanding of multiculturalism.


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Even thus understood, multicultural education is difficult to implement well. At a minimum, schools do not have time to do everything; if they teach the history of African Americans and Hispanics as well as that of European immigrants, they are leaving out Asian Americans and Native Americans not to speak of variations within each category. The more inclusive school curricula and activities become, the sharper the exclusion of those remaining outside the fold.

And absent a lot of thorny intellectual work, the more inclusive the curriculum becomes, the more superficially it treats all subjects. Finally, the more inclusive it becomes, in the usual sense of adding another cultural dimension to those already taught, the more difficult it is for teachers and students to retain any focus on the culture that was traditionally considered American -- or any other common core. And, rather than think of minority students as having a culture that is valid and distinct from theirs, they sometimes think of the youngsters as deficient.

Unless rational alternatives are devised that take into account the uniqueness of the African American heritage,… compulsory school integration will become even more destructive,… ultimately to the nation as a whole. Their priorities instead lie in higher achievement, safety and discipline, and sometimes political control of black schools by members of their own race. Other programs for separating students focus less on group identity and more on satisfying particular needs. Advocates of these programs typically begin with a focus on the core values of promoting individual success or enabling full participation in the democratic community.

Thus, for example, most immigrants want their children to learn English as quickly as possible, whether through immersion in English-only classes or in transitional bilingual education classes. Most Americans, however, remain focused on the two core values. Contests over whether and how to provide distinctive group recognition are played out at all levels of government. The federal Department of Education issues regulations on bilingual education and the Supreme Court rules on religion in the schools; state legislatures and local school boards debate the use of particular books in classrooms; principals and teachers contend over appropriate pedagogy and student placement; some parents demand to have their child included in all-black classes and others demand to have their children removed from them.

All of these disputes take place without regard to the bits of compelling evidence about the actual educational benefits of various programs and sometimes in the absence of any achievement data at all. There is, in fact, almost no evidence on the outcomes of some forms of group-distinctive schooling such as Afrocentric schools or schools for gay and lesbian students.

The lack of evidence is unfortunate but not surprising; few advocates, or opponents, seek systematic evaluations that might turn up distressing results. Even when researchers do seek dispassionate measures of outcomes of distinctive group treatment, many programs are too variable in quality or design to be compared, or the desired outcomes are too subtle to be clearly measured.

Although there are relatively few advocates of group-distinctive education in the American population as a whole and relatively little evidence about their claims, they have a disproportionate impact on debates over educational policy for several reasons. First, their claims are sufficiently close to the core values that they cannot be dismissed as illegitimate, but they are sufficiently antagonistic that they do not fit well into most reform efforts. The field of public education has been full of reformers since it was first conceived — by reformers. From the mid-nineteenth century onward, the American public has devoted considerable effort to building and improving the public school system.

In the last few decades, the public has demonstrated its willingness to spend an enormous amount of money on the schools; [54] at the same time, reform activity has been particularly intense. This activity has been driven to a great extent by serious failures in some poor urban school districts. In all its forms, however, these efforts to improve the system represent a serious national commitment to public education and its multiple goals. The past few decades have seen several waves of school reform.

Although they have been characterized differently in different places, most studies identify four distinct stages. The first can be broadly characterized as an attempt to fix various parts of the system through research and development. The second focused on fixing the people, that is, on improving the knowledge and skills of educational professionals, preparing them for innovation, and helping them improve classroom practice. The third emphasized fixing the schools by restructuring the organization, changing the culture, or adopting a school-wide pedagogical approach.

The public broadly supports the idea of school reform, the implementation of high standards, and many of these individual reform initiatives. These problems resulted partly from the layering of previous reforms, [62] partly from the multiple demands coming from an array of stakeholders, [63] and partly from the variety of children who come through the doors of public schools.

Although they disagree somewhat on explanations and prescriptions, the reformers believe that the problems with public schools can be remedied within them.

Noam Chomsky Requiem For The American Dream

During this entire recent history of school reform, there has been a parallel movement promoting a very different type of educational change, based on a market approach. Advocates of school choice see many of the same problems as school reformers but no longer believe that reform is possible or no longer think it is preferable. Thus they seek to drastically modify or even eliminate the present structure of public schooling. A few share with the reformers a belief in the multiple goals of education, but most hold this view because they do not.

Either they are almost entirely focused on relative or competitive individual success and think it will be best achieved in a fairly unregulated market, or they seek the validation of group identities and think it will be best achieved in a system where distinct groups can choose to school their children together.

In its strongest form, market proponents advocate a system of vouchers that would permit students to make publicly-funded choices among public, private, and parochial schools. A libertarian economist first promoted vouchers in the s as an alternative to the heavy hand of government implied by geographically-based school districting and assignment. Although Americans broadly support greater choice within the public system, they are in general ambivalent about the desirability of vouchers for private and parochial schools.

Several surveys in the s asked Americans to choose among voucher proposals; in each case, respondents split evenly regardless of the number or type of options. That is, when asked to choose between vouchers restricted to public schools and those that could be used in private schools as well, roughly half chose each; when asked to choose between the current system, public vouchers, and private vouchers, roughly a third chose each. If schools in their community were failing, identical proportions of the public 28 percent would want private school vouchers or to have the public schools overhauled.

Charter schools represent a compromise position: they are quasi-public schools financed by public funds and subject to periodic public scrutiny, but they are run by private trustees and compete in a market. Charters are supported by those trying to move toward vouchers, as well as those trying to stop them; they have been seen as a drain on the public system and an attempt to strengthen it. After considerable controversy, they have been authorized in a majority of states and appear in various forms: limited in number or quite widespread; held tightly accountable or left largely alone; exclusive or inclusive; pedagogically innovative or traditional.

They are too new and too varied to permit any conclusions about whether they have any impact on student performance. At the root of the controversy over charters and choice is the issue of whether to risk the public system to allow a focus on individual achievement or group identity alone, or try to preserve the public system as central democratic institution with multiple individual and collective goals. At the heart of this serious, unresolved, public policy debate is, again, this conflict of values.

Tracking is in a real sense the issue that brings all these themes together. Sorting students by ability group is almost universal, and children who are white, or come from upper class, middle class, or professional families, almost always dominate the high tracks. Tracking may be the price paid for desegregation; in many districts, white students attend school with black students but rarely go to class with them. Tracking may also be the price paid to keep the children of the elite in the public schools; many wealthy parents will forego private schools as long as their children are educated separately in the high track, and have access to the best teachers and the most resources.

Finally, while bilingual education is about students whose language ability may affect their ability to learn with others, and special education is about students whose handicap may affect their ability to learn with others, tracking is actually about students whose ability to learn affects their ability to learn with others. In this way, it is a more fundamental issue than all of those we have discussed so far. Tracking is different from most of the other controversies because it is also a matter of pedagogical practice, and for that reason rarely the subject of action by the legislatures or the courts, except as part of a desegregation case.

People genuinely disagree about the educational benefits or costs of tracking. According to the academic literature, however, the chief impact of ability grouping seems to be the educational disadvantage at which it puts those in the low tracks. Being in the high track is certainly preferable when the best teachers, the smallest classes and the most resources are available there, but this means that everyone would be better off in the high track, and there is evidence that this is so.

Yet we have witnessed not only generalized policy debates about tracking, but school by school warfare every time someone tries to eliminate it. It is difficult to eliminate for several reasons. First, it is compatible with the way many teachers have been trained; it is very hard to teach well in heterogeneous classrooms without the proper preparation.

Second, many parents were themselves taught in tracked classrooms and sincerely believe, despite the evidence, that it is the only proper way for children to learn. Tracking is more questionable when it is mandatory and begins in the primary grades than when it is voluntary and occurs late in high school. At root, however, tracking in almost all circumstances represents a conflict between a policy that is believed to be good for individual achievement, sometimes for a few, and one that is probably better for equal opportunity, often for a greater number of students.

Although it is so embedded in practice, some districts have been at least partly successful in detracking. There is a much higher level of integration than before Brown, and a striking transformation in the way schooling is organized in the South. School funding, similarly, is at a much higher level than before , and in many states is much more equitable.

NAEP scores, although uneven, have shown improvement for most age groups in most subjects over the last thirty years, despite many more children with language and other problems, and black students have in fact made the greatest gains. The conflicts over education policy are clearly serious and intractable, but movement on these issues is clearly not impossible. These changes have, to be sure, taken place in the context of a sustained prosperity that has made it much easier to dedicate more resources to education and to broaden opportunity. They have also been driven in part by wider political and demographic developments.

Yet in part they can be explained by the fact that Americans truly believe in the promise of equal opportunity that is inherent in the American Dream. Cumulatively, the changes have been remarkable. We have been asked to discuss the policy implications of all this. To do so is both daunting and appealing. However complicated, it is easier to document the conflicts created by the multiple goals of education, or to identify the dominant role in the past of one or another of them, than to try to determine the direction of future policy.

In part this is because the context for policymaking will certainly change; developments in education will continue to be affected by electoral shifts, economic trends, and international challenges, and these are extremely difficult to anticipate. On the other side, we can predict future policy developments without fear of authoritative contradiction, and can base them upon our own views of these matters with the knowledge that the foundation is as solid as any other in such circumstances. We believe that both core values — success for each one and the collective good of all -- are appropriate goals of the American educational system.

When the core values for our way of life feels untrue or attacked, it provokes strong emotions. Accepting that social identity affects the formula of success disrupts the narrative of our own success.

Chapter 7. Why is higher education so hard to reform?

Intersectionality, a framework that considers how all societal aspects of our lives converge, helps us to see beyond the veil of the American Dream to create ways of understanding that are more accurate, empathetic and accountable. It examines the ways in which our social identities race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. Social identities are not mutually exclusive of each other; they are intricately connected entities that reciprocally and simultaneously influence the construction of each to form our cumulative whole.

Simply put, we can only truly know others and ourselves when we consider how our many identities work together to form us individually. Intersectionality gives us the ability to see people in ways that match the complex lens through which we experience life and form our understanding of ourselves. For example, looking at how my race affects me only tells one piece of my story, and looking at how my class and race affects me tells us more. Looking at how my race, class, gender and sexuality affects my life tells a much fuller story.

Change one of these identities to something different, and who I am and where I am in my life changes as well. Human beings are incredibly complex. Thus, we need a framework that can handle this complexity and not simply drop us in a box based on a few checkmarks.

The Issues

So how does the American Dream and intersectionality converge? Currently, we have a huge wealth gap in the United States between white families and families of color. This phenomenon is historically constructed. For most blacks and African Americans, wealth accumulation began after emancipation in Despite the end of slavery, blacks still had to deal with Jim Crow laws, no access to credit or land ownership, and other forms of structural racism.

Redlining in the United States, a practice that prevents people of color from purchasing homes by denying them loans on the basis of race, has cost blacks over a trillion dollars in wealth. The current racialized distribution of wealth is from a racist past that has resulted in white families holding much greater wealth than families of color. Family wealth is important because wealth connects with the quality of K schools that a child attends. School districts with greater resources are usually composed of neighborhoods with homes that are more expensive to purchase or rent.

Families with less wealth are not able to afford homes in better school districts, because of the costs to do so. Children from families with less means to purchase or rent more expensive homes predominantly families of color end up going to school that have less or significantly less resources than children from wealthier families. When we look intersectionally at this phenomenon, we see that white children more often attend better schools because of the historical effects from racism sexism, and classism on present day distributions of wealth.

To achieve success in the United States today, one almost certainly needs a college degree, with a 4-year degree typically being better than a 2-year degree. The difference in attending a K school that is well resourced or underresourced is stark. They struggle with unqualified or under-qualified teachers and a lack of class offerings no AP classes, lack of advanced math and science classes or cancelling classes altogether.

Textbooks are outdated or they may have no textbooks for certain classes. Underresourced schools will have fewer or no science laboratories. They will have fewer extracurricular activities and inadequate staffing counselors, reading specialists, school psychologists, special education teachers. Children who attend schools with inadequate learning environments are typically children of color.

Compounding the collision of race and class are issues of gender. Even today, girls of color are more likely to fall behind in science and math than white children and boys of color, because of inadequate schools and gender bias that advantages boys. Yet, when children do not succeed at the same level as children who attended schools with quality learning environments, we blame the person for their failure, not society. Look at this person who did.