Empowering Latino Students in Effective Schools

(A sample from a research paper on minorities and educational opportunity.)

by Brooke Reedlunn

“When I picture a school I see images awash in primary colors, permeated by the smell of crayons, and reverberating with children’s voices. It is comfortable to view school as this kind of neutral space, one where content knowledge is provided, and there are equal opportunities to learn.  Unfortunately, as long as we continue to view schools as culturally neutral or color-blind it is unlikely that we will be able to meet the needs of minority students, provide equal opportunities, or halt the reproduction of inequality. Giroux (1992) explains that “schools are not merely instructional sites designed to transmit knowledge; they are also cultural sites” (p.16) which valorize the dominant culture.  I believe that these inequities are perpetuated in schools with little conscious intent, as teachers biases go unchallenged and the white-mainstream knowledge base is valued above all others.   This makes teacher’s and principal’s reflection and recognition of social inequalities the first key steps toward addressing the marginalization of minority students.  This reflection process coupled with strong leadership and community involvement can change schools in ways that make them highly effective for minority populations.”

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