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Neag School of Education

Reducing racism in schools: the promise of anti-racist policies.

  • by: Britney L. Jones
  • September 22, 2020
  • Community Engagement

Britney Jones


In 2020, the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others led to a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement across the nation and around the globe. The revitalization of this movement has come with increased public demand for policy change, and specific calls for anti-racist policies in schools. As a result, many educational leaders are grappling with what this means for their respective contexts, and the extent to which their school or district’s current policies measure up to public demand.

Educating and training teachers and administrators on how to enact culturally relevant and inclusive practices is one step towards eliminating racism in schools.

Educating and training teachers and administrators on how to enact culturally relevant and inclusive practices is one step towards eliminating racism in schools. Expressing a commitment to anti-racism through school policies, statements, guidelines, or codes takes these efforts a step further. Within the last decade, some schools and districts have penned their own anti-racist policies to detail the steps they are taking to disrupt racism within their locale. In this brief, I describe these policies and highlight recent initiatives aimed at eliminating racism in schools. As school and district leaders advance their own anti-racist policies and objectives, this policy brief provides guidance based on the practices of diverse districts in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Anti-Racist Policy in Schools

Anti-racist policies are usually documents drafted by a governing body and disseminated to staff, parents, and students in a particular district or school. Similar to a code of conduct, school handbook, or anti-bullying policy, the policy states the organization’s commitment to anti-racism and lays out procedures that must be followed in order to uphold the organization’s commitment to the cause of dismantling racism to create an inclusive, equity-oriented environment. Over the past decade, schools and districts, both nationally and internationally, have written and adopted policies to address racism, discrimination, and inequity in schools. U.S. districts often refer to these policies as equity policies, while in places such as the United Kingdom (U.K.), Australia, Ireland, and South Africa, similar policies are usually entitled anti-racist policies. Despite the difference in name, they often share similar objectives and features. Anti-racist and equity policies typically start with a statement of assurance that the board or governing body has considered the importance of racial equity, followed by a renunciation of discriminatory behavior within their context. Next, the document includes a definition of racism. Then, these policies describe the steps taken by the governing body to ensure equity or anti-racism.

Components of Anti-Racist Policy: Areas to Address

For this brief I examined over 25 publicly available equity or anti-racist policies from several states in the U.S. and from schools in Australia, South Africa, Ireland and the U.K. I found that most policies address racism through the lenses of:

  • school environment,
  • incident reporting,
  • data analysis, and

After addressing these components, policies typically offer guidance or present action steps to support implementation. These include:

  • providing a clear and accurate definition of racism for consumers of the policy,
  • devising a plan for policy dissemination,
  • appointing an anti-racist committee or point person,
  • coupling equity/anti-racist policy with other school or district-wide policies, and
  • partnering with external organizations.

Below I briefly describe each of these components.

School Environment: Creating an Anti-Racist/Equity-Oriented Culture and Climate

Most of the policies discuss the school environment at length. Generally, they describe ways in which school staff can create and maintain a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. One way policies describe achieving this goal is through representation of multiple racial and ethnic backgrounds in curricula, texts, hallway displays, and digital media. They also state the importance of incorporating positive role models and discussing issues of race and diversity within classrooms and during school-wide events. Several anti-racist/equity policies advocate events focusing on diversity and empathy building, such as Friendship Week or Multicultural Week. Policies also describe building teachers’ awareness of racism and bias as a means to shift culture and climate in the school. These policies require teachers to be mindful of cultural assumptions and bias, develop racial literacy, enact cultural responsiveness, and understand their own identity. In the Anti-Racist Policy of Bure Valley School in the U.K., the authors offer specific examples of how this can be done, asserting that students “should be confident to speak, hear or read in their home language in school” and have their names “accurately recorded and correctly pronounced” by teachers (p. 2).

Reporting: Developing a System for Reporting Racial Incidents

Most policies also detail reporting requirements. Authors of these policies aim to ensure a system is in place to deal with incidents of racism and discrimination. This component often lays out a specific procedure for responding to an incident including requiring a written report, timeline for resolution, documentation of resolution, and family notification. In addition to forms for reporting, many anti-racist/equity policies require a racism logbook or place for complaints to be recorded permanently. These policies also describe ways in which schools could support students who may be victims of a racist or discriminatory act. Some policies note that support for students involved in an incident should be ongoing and coupled with psychological or mental health services. Additionally, some policies encourage schools to help students feel empowered to report incidents and develop strategies for dealing with racial conflict.

Staffing: Recruiting, Hiring, and Retaining Diverse Staff with Equity/Anti-Racist Mindsets

Many of the policies emphasize the need to recruit and retain staff members dedicated to anti-racism, and committed to providing equity-based training for new and veteran educators. In its equity statement, the Princeton Public Schools District in New Jersey states, “The goal is to attract, develop, inspire, and retain a diverse workforce within a supportive environment.” Several other schools and districts echo this sentiment within their policies by describing their efforts to diversify their staff, both in terms of demographics and beliefs. They attempt to fulfill this goal through recruitment of culturally and linguistically diverse teachers and administrators. They articulate the importance of hiring staff that mirrors the student population. Some districts or schools call for staff hiring to follow equal opportunity hiring procedures and the use of equity-oriented criteria for selection. For teachers already employed, policies name professional development and new staff training as opportunities to provide new learning around racial consciousness and inclusivity.

Britney L. Jones.

Data Analysis: Employing an Equity Lens to Identify Disparities and Inform Decision-Making

Several policies aim to challenge racism through race conscious data collection and review. According to these policies, “effective” review of data means testing for differences across student demographic groups in access, performance, and discipline. The Portland Public School District in Oregon suggests using data to identify and modify assessments that lead to over or under-representation of minoritized groups. For example, some policies identify focus areas such special education identification and suspension for review given the history of over-representation of students from minoritized groups in special education and among suspensions. Some state the goal of increasing the number of minoritized students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses. Others call for a closer look at how selective admissions criteria for enrollment may lead to adverse effects and the ways in which admissions testing may disadvantage students of color. Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland states their plan to disaggregate data to “analyze trends, identify gaps, and develop racial equity priorities” (p. 4). To fulfill this objective of equity-oriented data analysis, some policies highlight the need for constant monitoring and reporting on progress towards goals.

Funding: Assessing and Allocating Funds for Equity Purposes

While undoubtedly important, funding is mentioned in only a few of the anti-racist/equity policies. Policymakers in Baltimore include the following line in their policy: “Ensure that purchasing/procurement practices provide access and economic opportunities within communities represented by students of color” (p. 4). This is one way that educational institutions can be mindful of their economic impact on the community. Schools may also decide to allot funds to ensure attainment of aforementioned objectives such as equitable hiring, staff training, and data analysis resources.

While undoubtedly important, funding is mentioned in only a few of the anti-racist/equity policies.

In sum, the policies reviewed tend to address five areas to enhance anti-racism and equity in their contexts. Creating equity-oriented objectives in the areas of school environment, incident reporting, staffing, data analysis, and funding is an important start. However, when drafting these documents, policymakers should include additional guidelines to support the implementation of anti-racist policies. Next, I describe some of the ways existing policies attempt to ensure attainment of policy objectives.

Components of Anti-Racist Policy: Process Elements to Support Implementation

Clearly and Accurately Define Racism

One way to create strong anti-racist policy is by providing a clear definition of racism to frame the policy. In addition to setting context for the policy, opening with a definition creates an opportunity to educate readers and norm on the school or district’s understanding of racism. Such definitions vary across policies. Some of the international anti-racist policies begin by distinguishing between personal and institutional racism and offer clear definitions for each. For example, in the U.K. the Truro School’s Anti-Racist policy relies on a definition from The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report, which states that institutional racism is “the collective failure of an organisation to 
provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin.” The policy continues: “when a child is subject to racist bullying or harassment, their behaviour and attainment are likely to be affected; if the behaviour is treated in isolation without taking into consideration the issues and effects of racism, this can be described as institutional racism. The racist element must be explicitly recognised and dealt with” (p. 2). This definition is provided before any other components of the policy are explained. Policymakers should consider how their context defines equity and racism before laying out a plan to address these issues. Consumers of anti-racist policy may be better equipped to follow subsequent guidelines if they have a foundational understanding of the problem and the purpose of the policy.

Policy Dissemination

The second way policymakers intend to make these policies come alive is through a plan for dissemination. Many policies are available online, on the school or district website. Other strategies for distribution include a physical copy in a designated location such as a school’s main office and inclusion in student and staff handbooks. One district states that a summary of the policy will be included in students’ yearly planners. Other ideas for dissemination include public displays in prominent areas of the school, placement in newsletters, and discussions during assemblies. Importantly, several anti-racist/equity policies name all parties that should review the policy, including staff, parents, students, contractors, service provides, and any other school visitors.  

  Appointing a Committee or Point-Person

The third way policymakers support implementation of these policies is by putting an individual or group in charge of monitoring the school’s progress towards goals. In some cases this is the superintendent or another school leader; in other contexts, an equity committee is charged with this responsibility. For example, in Shaker Heights, Ohio there is an equity task force made up of 11 educators, nine community members, and two students. In general, the governing body or individual is required to report to the school board, make recommendations based on data, promote alignment between equity and other goals, present tools or resources, and ensure compliance with state and federal laws. Most policies describe the need for an annual report or review as part of their action plan.

Coupling Anti-Racist/Equity Policies with Other School Policies

A fourth way to promote accountability and adherence to anti-racist/equity policy is by associating it with other school policies, especially those that are well established. Most of the policies reviewed for this brief are linked to other policies focusing on topics such as: discipline, behavior, anti-bullying, school safety, the staff code of conduct, and the student code of conduct. Several anti-racist/equity policies identify their relationship to standards and curriculum and federal laws regarding race and discrimination. Attaching these policies to existing initiatives helps to integrate them into the organizational fabric of these educational institutions.

Partnering with External Organizations

Finally, to support implementation of anti-racist policy, schools and districts should seek guidance from organizations already committed to anti-racist work. Several policies name equity-based or anti-racist organizations with which they were affiliated. This is an important component because it lessens the burden on educational systems to deal with complex issues of race and equity on their own and presents the opportunity to rely on the expertise of government agencies, universities, community organizations, research organizations, and anti-racist nonprofits. This can also facilitate and strengthen relationships between schools and communities.

A Promising Example

As mentioned above, many of the existing anti-racist and equity policies were drafted after 2010. Yet, recent events and the current sociopolitical climate signal the need to revisit and strengthen these policies. One district has done just this. In June 2020, the Indianapolis Public School District in Indiana, led by superintendent Aleesia Johnson, unanimously adopted a new Racial Equity Policy and publicly affirmed that Black lives matter in a resolution. Resolution No. 7861 and Board Policy 1619 – Racial Equity Mindset, Commitment, and Actions comes at a time when the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement is palpable. This district is demonstrating how to use policy, first, to take responsibility for systemic failure to adequately support Black and Brown students in the past, and, second, to plan for a better future.

In June 2020, the Indianapolis Public School District in Indiana, led by superintendent Aleesia Johnson, unanimously adopted a new Racial Equity Policy and publicly affirmed that Black lives matter in a resolution. Resolution No. 7861 and Board Policy 1619 – Racial Equity Mindset, Commitment, and Actions comes at a time when the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement is palpable.

With this new policy, the Indianapolis Public School District details specific action steps to increase racial equity. These include:

  • partnership with the Racial Equity Institute (which helps organizations challenge systems of power and increase equity);
  • restructuring, reducing, and auditing police presence and practices in schools;
  • implementing a Supplier Diversity Policy with the aim of supporting local businesses (particularly those owned by women, people of color, and veterans);
  • creating school-based equity teams for data analysis;
  • increasing the recruitment and retention of Black staff;
  • ensuring equitable enrollment across school types;
  • shifting the budget to be more student centered and allocating funds to aid schools demonstrating the highest need; and
  • considering how housing segregation impacts school choice and limiting boundaries to school access in the enrollment process.

We can all learn from this policy, with its high level of detail alongside the very public commitment by the board and superintendent. Not only does this new policy incorporate many of the aforementioned components such as commitment to reform in the areas of funding, data analysis, and school environment, the Indianapolis Public School (IPS) District has also developed strong plans to support its implementation. The district has partnered with the Racial Equity Institute to refine goals and train staff. IPS also signals the importance of considering other areas of anti-racist policy reform such as police presence in schools, and recognizing Juneteenth as a district holiday. It is also worthwhile to note that the IPS district acted swiftly by moving up the release of this new policy (initially set to be released later in the summer) to respond to recent acts of racism and injustice in the national news. Other districts around the country should follow IPS’s lead.

Recommendations for Creating Anti-Racist Policies

The components of existing equity/anti-racist education policies described above provide a general understanding of what these policies should include: equity-oriented objectives for school climate, incident reporting, staffing, data analysis, and funding. The creators of these policies should also consider providing a clear definition of racism, laying out a plan regarding how to communicate the objectives of the policy to the broader community, specifying the individual(s) who will oversee policy implementation, identifying the connections between anti-racist policy and other school policies, and outlining how to leverage partnerships with external organizations committed to increasing equity.

In addition to these components, I share two additional suggestions for those drafting anti-racist policy. The first addresses the accessibility of anti-racist policy and associated tools or resources. The second deals with attention to the personal and interpersonal work that must be done to implement anti-racist policy. I describe each in further detail below.


Several schools and districts made their policies and equity tools easily accessible to staff and the public alike. Having materials and policies readily available increases the likelihood that teachers and school leaders have access to and use resources. It also creates a more collegial environment as other schools and districts attempt to create their own anti-racist policies. For example, the Minneapolis Public School District in Minnesota shares an Equity and Diversity Impact Assessment tool on their website, and the Jefferson County Public School District in Louisville, Kentucky publicly shares their tools for equity analysis. Rather than reinventing tools, other districts may choose to cite and borrow from such existing assessments. The Shaker Heights, Ohio School District website provides a link to an equity resources page with suggested reading and links to equity-oriented organizations, while the Indianapolis Public Schools website has a link to its  “Say Their Names” toolkit “to help foster productive conversations about race and civil disobedience.” Links to these sorts of additional resources, readings, and campaigns offer helpful guidance as schools and districts across the country, and beyond, attempt to strengthen their anti-racist efforts.

Attention to the Personal and Interpersonal Work of Anti-Racist Policy Implementation

Districts and schools seeking to advance anti-racism and equity can attend to the aforementioned components to create effective policy. However, they must also consider the deeply personal work that is required alongside anti-racist reform. Many of these policies ask school staff to interrogate their own biases, positions of power, and privilege. The extent to which these types of personal reflection are encouraged and occur contextualizes policy implementation. Based on a study done with schools in California, the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education identified characteristics of schools with a record of narrowing the impact of racism and inequity. The authors stress the need for equity-oriented school leaders to guide staff and high levels of trust among members of the school community. This report highlights the need to consider the ways in which school-level features and interactions matter for the implementation of anti-racist or equity policy. Thus, in addition to focusing on the components within anti-racist or equity policies, we must also consider the characteristics and dispositions associated with positive change and increased student performance at the school and district level.

Some districts have supported educators in engaging in the vital personal and interpersonal work necessary to advance anti-racism and equity. Pat Savage-Williams, president of Evanston Township Board of Education in Illinois, shares advice for fellow board members looking to challenge racial inequity. In her article posted on the school board website , she promotes many of the components described in this brief, such as being data informed, using school budgets to limit disparities, and developing external partnerships. Additionally, she suggests that board members be willing to undergo a personal journey of reflection and understanding to expand their knowledge of racial issues, and should “expect opposition.” This example underscores the work that must be done on an individual and interpersonal level to make these policies come alive.

This policy described the topics addressed in anti-racist schooling policies and outlined the shifts educational leaders are making to strengthen and clarify not only their policies, but also their personal stance on racism and equity.Policymakers must consider how they define racism, the objectives of anti-racist policy, and how to make the policy actionable. After creating and revising anti-racist policies, policymakers must also consider the characteristics of the school community in which these documents will live. Following these steps can lead to policy changes that interrupt the status quo. As students and communities demand change, educational institutions must consider how they will respond and whether that response disrupts or facilitates systems of inequity.  

Chart outlining steps on policies aimed at implementing anti-racism in schools.

Britney L. Jones is a doctoral candidate in the Learning, Leadership, and Education Policy program at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education. Her research interests include culturally relevant and inclusive practices in K-12 contexts with a focus on teachers’ sociopolitical consciousness. Her doctoral work follows a BA in education studies and an MA in elementary teaching, both from Brown University. Britney also worked previously as a fourth-grade teacher and science curriculum developer. For more information, contact [email protected] .

CEPA is a research center based at the Neag School that seeks to inform educational leaders and policymakers on issues related to the development, implementation, and consequences of education policies.  Learn more about CEPA at  cepare.uconn.edu . Access the original PDF of this issue brief (including the complete Appendix).

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Still Separate, Still Unequal: Teaching about School Segregation and Educational Inequality

essay on discrimination in schools

By Keith Meatto

  • May 2, 2019

Racial segregation in public education has been illegal for 65 years in the United States. Yet American public schools remain largely separate and unequal — with profound consequences for students, especially students of color.

Today’s teachers and students should know that the Supreme Court declared racial segregation in schools to be unconstitutional in the landmark 1954 ruling Brown v. Board of Education . Perhaps less well known is the extent to which American schools are still segregated. According to a recent Times article , “More than half of the nation’s schoolchildren are in racially concentrated districts, where over 75 percent of students are either white or nonwhite.” In addition, school districts are often segregated by income. The nexus of racial and economic segregation has intensified educational gaps between rich and poor students, and between white students and students of color.

Although many students learn about the historical struggles to desegregate schools in the civil rights era, segregation as a current reality is largely absent from the curriculum.

“No one is really talking about school segregation anymore,” Elise C. Boddie and Dennis D. Parker wrote in this 2018 Op-Ed essay. “That’s a shame because an abundance of research shows that integration is still one of the most effective tools that we have for achieving racial equity.”

The teaching activities below, written directly to students, use recent Times articles as a way to grapple with segregation and educational inequality in the present. This resource considers three essential questions:

• How and why are schools still segregated in 2019? • What repercussions do segregated schools have for students and society? • What are potential remedies to address school segregation?

School segregation and educational inequity may be a sensitive and uncomfortable topic for students and teachers, regardless of their race, ethnicity or economic status. Nevertheless, the topics below offer entry points to an essential conversation, one that affects every American student and raises questions about core American ideals of equality and fairness.

Six Activities for Students to Investigate School Segregation and Educational Inequality

Activity #1: Warm-Up: Visualize segregation and inequality in education.

Based on civil rights data released by the United States Department of Education, the nonprofit news organization ProPublica has built an interactive database to examine racial disparities in educational opportunities and school discipline. In this activity, which might begin a deeper study of school segregation, you can look up your own school district, or individual public or charter school, to see how it compares with its counterparts.

To get started: Scroll down to the interactive map of the United States in this ProPublica database and then answer the following questions:

1. Click the tabs “Opportunity,” “Discipline,” “Segregation” and “Achievement Gap” and answer these two simple questions: What do you notice? What do you wonder? (These are the same questions we ask as part of our “ What’s Going On in This Graph? ” weekly discussions.) 2. Next, click the tabs “Black” and “Hispanic.” What do you notice? What do you wonder? 3. Search for your school or district in the database. What do you notice in the results? What questions do you have?

For Further Exploration

Research your own school district. Then write an essay, create an oral presentation or make an annotated map on segregation and educational inequity in your community, using data from the Miseducation database.

Activity #2: Explore a case study: schools in Charlottesville, Va.

The New York Times and ProPublica investigated how segregation still plays a role in shaping students’ educational experiences in the small Virginia city of Charlottesville. The article begins:

Zyahna Bryant and Trinity Hughes, high school seniors, have been friends since they were 6, raised by blue-collar families in this affluent college town. They played on the same T-ball and softball teams, and were in the same church group. But like many African-American children in Charlottesville, Trinity lived on the south side of town and went to a predominantly black neighborhood elementary school. Zyahna lived across the train tracks, on the north side, and was zoned to a mostly white school, near the University of Virginia campus, that boasts the city’s highest reading scores.

Before you read the rest of the article, and learn about the experiences of Zyahna and Trinity, answer the following questions based on your own knowledge, experience and opinions:

• What is the purpose of public education? • Do all children in America receive the same quality of education? • Is receiving a quality public education a right (for everyone) or a privilege (for some)? • Is there a correlation between students’ race and the quality of education they receive?

Now read the entire article about lingering segregation in Charlottesville and answer the following questions:

1. How is Charlottesville’s school district geographically and racially segregated? 2. How is Charlottesville a microcosm of education in America? 3. How do white and black students in Charlottesville compare in terms of participation in gifted and talented programs; being held back a grade; being suspended from school? 4. How do black and white students in Charlottesville compare in terms of reading at grade level? 5. How do Charlottesville school officials explain the disparities between white and black students? 6. Why are achievement disparities so common in college towns? 7. In what ways do socioeconomics not fully explain the gap between white and black students?

After reading the article and answering the above questions, share your reactions using the following prompts:

• Did anything in the article surprise you? Shock you? Make you angry or sad? Why? • On the other hand, did anything in the article strike you as unsurprising? Explain. • How might education in Charlottesville be made more equitable?

Choose one or more of the following ideas to investigate school segregation in the United States and around the world.

1. Read and discuss “ In a Divided Bosnia, Segregated Schools Persist .” Compare and contrast the situations in Bosnia and Charlottesville. How does this perspective confirm, challenge, or complicate your understanding of the topic?

2. Read and discuss the article and study the map and graphs in “ Why Are New York’s Schools Segregated? It’s Not as Simple as Housing .” How does “school choice” confirm, challenge or complicate your understanding of segregation and educational inequity?

3. Only a tiny number of black students were offered admission to the highly selective public high schools in New York City in 2019, raising the pressure on officials to confront the decades-old challenge of integrating New York’s elite public schools. To learn more about this story, listen to this episode of The Daily . For more information, read these Op-Ed essays and editorials offering different perspectives on the problem and possible solutions. Then, make a case for what should be done — or not done — to make New York’s elite public schools more diverse.

• Stop Fixating on One Elite High School, Stuyvesant. There Are Bigger Problems. • How Elite Schools Stay So White • No Ethnic Group Owns Stuyvesant. All New Yorkers Do. • De Blasio’s Plan for NYC Schools Isn’t Anti-Asian. It’s Anti-Racist. • New York’s Best Schools Need to Do Better

3. Read and discuss “ The Resegregation of Jefferson County .” How does this story confirm, challenge or complicate your understanding of the topic?

Activity #3: Investigate the relationship between school segregation, funding and inequality.

Some school districts have more money to spend on education than others. Does this funding inequality have anything to do with lingering segregation in public schools? A recent report says yes. A New York Times article published in February begins:

School districts that predominantly serve students of color received $23 billion less in funding than mostly white school districts in the United States in 2016, despite serving the same number of students, a new report found. The report, released this week by the nonprofit EdBuild, put a dollar amount on the problem of school segregation, which has persisted long after Brown v. Board of Education and was targeted in recent lawsuits in states from New Jersey to Minnesota. The estimate also came as teachers across the country have protested and gone on strike to demand more funding for public schools.

Answer the following questions based on your own knowledge, experience and opinions.

• Who pays for public schools? • Is there a correlation between money and education? Does the amount of money a school spends on students influence the quality of the education students receive?

Now read the rest of the Times article about funding differences between mostly white school districts and mostly nonwhite ones, and then answer the following questions:

1. How much less total funding do school districts that serve predominantly students of color receive compared to school districts that serve predominantly white students? 2. Why are school district borders problematic? 3. How many of the nation’s schoolchildren are in “racially concentrated districts, where over 75 percent of students are either white or nonwhite”? 4. How much less money, on average, do nonwhite districts receive than white districts? 5. How are school districts funded? 6. How does lack of school funding affect classrooms? 7. What is the new kind of ”white flight” in Arizona and why is it a problem? 8. What is an “enclave”? What does the statement “some school districts have become their own enclaves” mean?

• Did anything in the article surprise you? Shock you? Make you angry or sad? Why? • On the other hand, did anything in the article strike you as unsurprising? Explain. • How could school funding be made more equitable?

Choose one or more of the following ideas to investigate the interrelationship among school segregation, funding and inequality.

1. Research your local school district budget, using public records or local media, such as newspapers or television reporting. What is the budget per student? How does that budget compare with the state average? The national average? 2. Compare your findings about your local school budget to your research about segregation and student outcomes, using the Miseducation database. Do the results of your research suggest any correlations?

Activity #4: Examine potential legal remedies to school segregation and educational inequality.

How do we get better schools for all children? One way might be to take the state to court. A Times article from August reports on a wave of lawsuits that argue that states are violating their constitutions by denying children a quality education. The article begins:

By his own account, Alejandro Cruz-Guzman’s five children have received a good education at public schools in St. Paul. His two oldest daughters are starting careers in finance and teaching. Another daughter, a high-school student, plans to become a doctor. But their success, Mr. Cruz-Guzman said, flows partly from the fact that he and his wife fought for their children to attend racially integrated schools outside their neighborhood. Their two youngest children take a bus 30 minutes each way to Murray Middle School, where the student population is about one-third white, one-third black, 16 percent Asian and 9 percent Latino. “I wanted to have my kids exposed to different cultures and learn from different people,” said Mr. Cruz-Guzman, who owns a small flooring company and is an immigrant from Mexico. When his two oldest children briefly attended a charter school that was close to 100 percent Latino, he said he had realized, “We are limiting our kids to one community.” Now Mr. Cruz-Guzman is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit saying that Minnesota knowingly allowed towns and cities to set policies and zoning boundaries that led to segregated schools, lowering test scores and graduation rates for low-income and nonwhite children.

Read the entire article and then answer the following questions:

1. What does Mr. Cruz-Guzman’s suit allege against the State of Minnesota? 2. Why are advocates for school funding equity focused on state government, as opposed to the federal government? 3. What did a state judge rule in New Mexico? What did the Kansas Supreme Court rule? 4. What fraction of fourth and eighth graders in New Mexico is not proficient in reading? What does research suggest may improve their test scores? 5. According to a 2016 study, if a school spends 10 percent more per pupil, what percentage more would students earn as adults? 6. What does the economist Eric Hanushek argue about the correlation between spending and student achievement? 7. What remedy for school segregation is Daniel Shulman, the lead lawyer in the Minnesota desegregation suit, considering? Why are charter schools nervous about the case? 8. How does Khulia Pringle see some charter schools as “culturally affirming”? What problems does Ms. Pringle see with busing white children to black schools and vice versa?

• Did anything in the article surprise you? What other emotional responses did you have while reading? Why? • On the other hand, did anything in the article strike you as unsurprising? Explain. • Do the potential “cultural” benefits of school segregation outweigh the costs?

Choose one or more of the following ideas to investigate potential remedies to school segregation and educational inequality.

1. Read the obituaries “ Jean Fairfax, Unsung but Undeterred in Integrating Schools, Dies at 98 ” and “ Linda Brown, Symbol of Landmark Desegregation Case, Dies at 75 .” How do their lives inform your grasp of legal challenges to segregation?

2. Watch the following video about school busing . How does this history inform your understanding of the benefits and challenges of busing?

3. Read about how parents in two New York City school districts are trying to tackle segregation in local middle schools . Then decide if these models have potential for other districts in New York or around the country. Why or why not?

Activity #5: Consider alternatives to integration.

Is integration the best and only choice for families who feel their children are being denied a quality education? A recent Times article reports on how some black families in New York City are choosing an alternative to integration. The article begins:

“I love myself!” the group of mostly black children shouted in unison. “I love my hair, I love my skin!” When it was time to settle down, their teacher raised her fist in a black power salute. The students did the same, and the room hushed. As children filed out of the cramped school auditorium on their way to class, they walked by posters of Colin Kaepernick and Harriet Tubman. It was a typical morning at Ember Charter School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, an Afrocentric school that sits in a squat building on a quiet block in a neighborhood long known as a center of black political power. Though New York City has tried to desegregate its schools in fits and starts since the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, the school system is now one of the most segregated in the nation. But rather than pushing for integration, some black parents in Bedford-Stuyvesant are choosing an alternative: schools explicitly designed for black children.

Before you read the rest of the article, answer the following questions based on your own knowledge, experience and opinions:

• Should voluntary segregation in schools be permissible? Why or why not? • What potential benefits might voluntary segregation offer? • What potential problems might it pose?

Now, read the entire article and then answer these questions:

1. What is the goal of Afrocentric schools? 2. Why are some parents and educators enthusiastic about Afrocentric schools? 3. Why are some experts wary of Afrocentric schools? 4. What does Alisa Nutakor want to offer minority students at Ember? 5. What position does the city’s schools chancellor take on Afrocentric schools? 6. What “modest desegregation plans” have some districts offered? With what result? 7. Why did Fela Barclift found Little Sun People? 8. Why are some parents ambivalent about school integration? According to them, how can schools be more responsive to students of color? 9. What does Mutale Nkonde mean by the phrase “not all boats are rising”? 10. What did Jordan Pierre gain from his experience at Eagle Academy?

• Did anything in the article surprise you? What other emotional responses did you have while reading? Why? • On the other hand, did anything in the article strike you as unsurprising? Explain. • Did the article challenge your opinion about voluntary segregation? How?

Choose one or more of the following ideas to investigate some of the complicating factors that influence where parents decide to send their children to school.

1. Read and discuss “ Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City .” How does reading about segregation, inequity and school choice from a parent’s perspective confirm, challenge or complicate your understanding of the topic?

2. Read “ Do Students Get a Subpar Education in Yeshivas? ” How might a student’s religious affiliation complicate the issue of segregation and inequity in education?

Activity #6: Learn more and take action.

Segregation still persists in public schools more than 60 years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision. What more can you learn about the issue? What choices can you make? Is there anything students can do about the issue?

Write a personal essay about your experience with school segregation. For inspiration, read Erin Aubrey Kaplan’s op-ed essay, “ School Choice Is the Enemy of Justice ,” which links a contemporary debate with the author’s personal experience of school segregation.

Interview a parent, grandparent or another adult about their educational experiences related to segregation, integration and inequity in education. Compare their experiences with your own. Share your findings in a paper, presentation or class discussion.

Take action by writing a letter about segregation and educational inequity in your community. Send the letter to a person or organization with local influence, such as the school board, an elected official or your local newspaper.

Discuss the issue in your school or district by raising the topic with your student council, parent association or school board. Be prepared with information you discovered in your research and bring relevant questions.

Additional Resources

Choices in Little Rock | Facing History and Ourselves

Beyond Brown: Pursuing the Promise | PBS

Why Are American Public Schools Still So Segregated? | KQED

Toolkit for “Segregation by Design” | Teaching Tolerance

August 19, 2022

In Schools, Honest Talk about Racism Can Reduce Discrimination

New laws make it harder for teachers to discuss racism and inequality, but psychological evidence shows these conversations dispel causes of bias and distress

By Camilla Mutoni Griffiths & Nicky Sullivan

Students look attentively at teacher standing in front of a black board with 'Let's Talk Racism' message.

Vanessa Brantley-Newton

“Where are the Native Americans now?” asked fifth grade students in an Iowa City classroom last year. There are many ways their teacher, Melanie Hester, might have answered. She could have pointed out that today Native Americans live in cities and towns across the U.S. About 20 percent live on reservations , and Hester could have used that to open a discussion of the U.S. government’s forcible movement and isolation of tribes. Hester might have also discussed how European and American settlers brutally killed many Native Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Instead she evaded the question and continued her lesson without offering historical context for her students to understand the present. Teachers across the country are avoiding explicit conversations about race, racism and racial inequality because of a series of recent laws passed in several states. In Iowa, for example, a law prohibits any teaching that suggests the U.S. is “fundamentally or systematically racist or sexist.” The Iowa law also specifies that teachers must ensure that no student feels “discomfort, guilt, anguish or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.” The laws in other states lay out similar logic.

The legal language seems, for the most part, protective of children. But the effect is quite the opposite. As psychologists who study how parents and teachers communicate with kids about race, we can attest to an ever growing body of scientific evidence that suggests these laws are failing the children they purport to help.

First, years of research make it evident that kids notice racial and ethnic disparities from an early age. For example, psychologists have found that white kids as young as age four will consistently pair white families with higher-wealth items (such as nice cars and bigger houses) and Black families with lower-wealth items (for instance, run-down cars and smaller houses). In other words, very young children are aware of persistent racial disparities in wealth. Around the same age, children begin forming preferences for wealthier kids with more “stuff,” which, given the link between wealth and racial background in the U.S., may result in white children preferring and choosing to play with other white peers over Black peers.

Second, we know that when children notice differences between people or groups, they usually look for an explanation. Here a psychological principle called the inherence bias comes into play. In general, when we see someone behave in a distinctly different way from others, we assume there is something inherently different about that person. Adults often fall into this trap: if someone cuts you off on the highway, you are likely to assume they are a bad driver rather than assume, for instance, that they are a good driver who happens to be rushing to a hospital in an emergency. In the same way, children are more likely to attribute a wealth difference between communities to the groups’ capabilities or intelligence rather than something external, such as a historical advantage one group has had over another. Children often go one step further and think that groups are biologically or innately different. These attitudes are what psychologists call essentialist beliefs because they attribute group differences to some deep, underlying and often unknown “essence.”

These tendencies toward inherence and essentialism are especially harmful when we think about children’s efforts to understand racial disparities. Scientists agree that race is not biological. It is not inherent or innate. Instead race is the product of social and cultural ideas that are imposed on groups of people. These ideas become codified in our institutions and in the ways that we interact with one another, thus producing the inequalities we see in the world.

This means that children need external explanations, such as historical injustices and racial discrimination, to understand the differences between groups that they are observing. Without that context, children can mistakenly believe that racial difference is inherent, which leaves them with an inaccurate understanding of the world. More concerning, these beliefs about the inherent or essential nature of racial difference are actually a foundation of racial bias. In fact, multiple studies have found that when kids have more essentialist beliefs about race, they also hold more stereotypes about other racial groups.

In other words, without explicit discussions about race and the external, rather than internal, causes of racial disparities, children will come to the wrong conclusions and may develop racial biases. In principle, these problems could apply to any child who is not given greater context for racial differences. White children may be especially at risk because they are often the least likely to have conversations about racism with their families. In fact, one of us (Sullivan) tracked almost 1,000 parents in 2020 and found that white Americans were significantly less likely to talk to their children about race than Black Americans, even after the much publicized murder of George Floyd prompted national protests and dialogue about racism.

When we think about new laws limiting discussion of race in schools, it’s critical to keep in mind how they will impact children of color specifically. The research we’ve discussed suggests that students will be more likely to develop racially biased views in the absence of explicit lessons. As a result, children of color are likely to face more discrimination, not less. This outcome is clearly at odds with the language of the laws, which explicitly state that children should not be made to feel psychological distress because of their race. Yet that is precisely what will happen if children of color face more discrimination.

In contrast, explicit conversations with kids about racial disparities can help reduce some of the negative consequences we have described. In one study, white elementary school students who received history lessons about racial discrimination faced by Black people had more positive views of Black people and were less likely to hold stereotypes than students who didn’t receive such lessons. And those lessons did not lead either white or Black children to hold more negative views of white Americans, which is a commonly voiced concern among those who oppose teaching about racism. There is also early evidence from a preprint paper (which has not yet been through peer review) that when parents engage in honest, accurate conversations about race with their children, it can decrease kids’ racial biases .

The laws passed in Iowa and elsewhere claim to protect kids from forming racist beliefs, but the research suggests they are more likely to do the opposite. When it comes to children’s understanding of racism and the development of racist beliefs, the biggest danger isn’t teaching or talking to children about these topics—it’s staying quiet.

How Racism Affects Children of Color in Public Schools

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Institutional racism doesn’t just affect adults but children in K-12 schools as well. Anecdotes from families, research studies, and discrimination lawsuits all reveal that children of color face bias in schools. They’re disciplined more harshly, less likely to be identified as gifted, or to have access to quality teachers, to name but a few examples.

Racism in schools has serious consequences—from fueling the school-to-prison pipeline to traumatizing children of color .

Racial Disparities in School Suspensions

Black students are three times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their White peers, according to the U.S. Department of Education.   And in the American South, racial disparities in punitive discipline are even greater. A 2015 report from the University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education found that 13 Southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia) were responsible for 55% of the 1.2 million suspensions involving Black students nationwide.  

These states also accounted for 50% of expulsions involving Black students nationally, according to the report, titled “Disproportionate Impact of K-12 School Suspension and Expulsion on Black Students in southern States.” The finding most indicative of racial bias is that in 84 Southern school districts, 100% of students suspended were Black.

Disproportionate Rates of Discipline in Preschool

And grade school students aren’t the only Black children facing harsh forms of school discipline. Even Black preschool students are more likely to be suspended than students of other races. The same report showed that while Black students make up just 18% of children in preschool, they represent nearly half of preschool children suspended.

“I think most people would be shocked that those numbers would be true in preschool because we think of 4- and 5-year-olds as being innocent,” Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the think tank Advancement Project told CBS News about the finding. “But we do know that schools are using zero-tolerance policies for our youngest also, that while we think our children need a head start, schools are kicking them out instead.”

Preschool children sometimes engage in troublesome behavior such as kicking, hitting, and biting, but quality preschools have behavior intervention plans in place to counter these forms of acting out. Furthermore, it’s highly unlikely that only Black children act out in preschool, a stage in life in which kids are notorious for having temper tantrums.

Given how Black preschoolers are disproportionately targeted for suspensions, it’s very likely that race plays a role in which children teachers single out for punitive discipline. In fact, a 2016 study published in Psychological Science showed that White people begin to perceive Black boys as threatening at just 5 years old, associating them with adjectives such as “violent,” “dangerous,” “hostile,” and “aggressive.”  

Consequences of Suspensions

The negative racial biases Black children face lead to high suspension rates that cause excessive absences in addition to preventing Black students from receiving education of the same quality as their White peers, both of these factors producing a stark achievement gap. Studies have shown that this can result in students falling behind academically, not reading at grade level by third grade, and eventually dropping out of school.   Pushing children out of class increases the chances that they will have contact with the criminal justice system.   A 2016 study published on children and suicide suggested that punitive discipline may be one of the reasons suicide rates among Black boys are rising.  

Of course, boys aren’t the only Black children targeted for punitive discipline in school. Black girls are more likely than all other female students (and some groups of boys) to be suspended or expelled as well.  

Low Representation in Gifted Programs

Poor children and children of color are not only less likely to be identified as gifted and talented but more likely to be identified as requiring special education services by teachers.

A 2016 report published by the American Educational Research Association found that Black third graders are half as likely as White third graders to participate in gifted and talented programs. Written by Vanderbilt University scholars Jason Grissom and Christopher Redding, the report, “Discretion and Disproportionality: Explaining the Underrepresentation of High-Achieving Students of Color in Gifted Programs,” also found that Hispanic students were also about half as likely as White people to be involved in gifted programs.

Why does this imply that racial bias is at play and those White students aren’t just naturally more gifted than children of color?

Because when children of color have teachers of color , the chances are higher that they will be identified as gifted.   This indicates that White teachers largely overlook giftedness in Black and brown children.

How Gifted Children Are Identified

Identifying a student as gifted involves a number of considerations. Gifted children may not have the best grades in the class. In fact, they may be bored in class and underachieve as a result. But standardized test scores, portfolios of schoolwork, and the ability of such children to tackle complex subjects despite tuning out in class may all be signs of giftedness.

When a school district in Florida changed the screening criteria for identifying gifted children, officials found that the number of gifted students in all racial groups rose. Rather than rely on teacher or parent referrals for the gifted program, this district used a universal screening process that required all second graders to take a nonverbal test to identify them as gifted. Nonverbal tests are said to be more objective measures of giftedness than verbal tests, especially for English language learners or children who don’t use Standard English.

Students who scored well on the test then moved on to I.Q. tests (which also face allegations of bias). Using the nonverbal test in combination with the I.Q. test led to the odds of Black students being identified as gifted rose by 74% and of Hispanics being identified as gifted by 118%.  

Lower Quality Education for Students of Color

A mountain of research has found that poor Black and brown children are the youth least likely to have highly qualified teachers. A study published in 2015 called “Uneven Playing Field? Assessing the Teacher Quality Gap Between Advantaged and Disadvantaged Students” found that in Washington, Black, Hispanic, and Native American youth were most likely to have teachers with the least amount of experience, the worst licensure exam scores, and the poorest record of improving student test scores.  

Related research has found that Black, Hispanic, and Native American youth have less access to honors and advanced placement (AP) classes than White youth do. In particular, they are less likely to enroll in advanced science and math classes. This can reduce their chances of being admitted to a four-year college, many of which require completion of at least one high-level math class for admission.  

Students of Color Overpoliced and Segregated

Not only are students of color least likely to be identified as gifted and enroll in honors classes, but they are also more likely to attend schools with a greater police presence, increasing the odds that they will enter the criminal justice system. The presence of law enforcement on school campuses also increases the risk of such students being exposed to police violence.   Recordings of school police slamming girls of color to the ground during altercations have recently sparked outrage across the nation.

Students of color face racial microaggressions in schools as well, such as being criticized by teachers and administrators for wearing their hair in styles that reflect their cultural heritage. Both Black students and Native American students have been reprimanded in schools for wearing their hair in its natural state or in braided styles.

Worsening matters is that public schools are increasingly segregated, more than they were in the 1970s. Black and brown students are most likely to attend schools with other Black and brown students. Students below the poverty line are most likely to attend schools with other poor students.  

As the nation’s racial demographics shift, these disparities pose serious risks to America’s future. Students of color comprise a growing share of public school students. If the United States is to remain a world superpower for generations, it’s incumbent upon Americans to ensure that disadvantaged students receive the same standard of education that privileged students do.

"Data Snapshot: School Discipline." Civil Rights Data Collection. U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, Mar. 2014.

Smith, Edward J., and Shaun R. Harper. "Disproportionate Impact of K-12 School Suspension and Expulsion on Black Students in Southern States." University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, 2015.

Todd, Andrew R., et al. "Does Seeing Faces of Young Black Boys Facilitate the Identification of Threatening Stimuli?" Psychological Science , vol. 27, no. 3, 1 Feb. 2016, doi:10.1177/0956797615624492

Bowman, Barbara T., et al. "Addressing the African American Achievement Gap: Three Leading Educators Issue a Call to Action." Young Children , vol. 73, no.2, May 2018.

Raufu, Abiodun. "School-to-Prison Pipeline: Impact of School Discipline on African American Students." Journal of Education & Social Policy, vol. 7, no. 1, Mar. 2017.

Sheftall, Arielle H., et al. "Suicide in Elementary School-Aged Children and Early Adolescents." Pediatrics , vol. 138, no. 4, Oct. 2016, doi:10.1542/peds.2016-0436

Grissom, Jason A., and Christopher Redding. "Discretion and Disproportionality: Explaining the Underrepresentation of High-Achieving Students of Color in Gifted Programs." AERA Open , 18 Jan. 2016, doi:10.1177/2332858415622175

Card, David, and Laura Giuliano. "Universal Screening Increases the Representation of Low-Income and Minority Students in Gifted Education." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 113, no. 48, 29 Nov. 2016, pp. 13678-13683., doi:10.1073/pnas.1605043113

Goldhaber, Dan, et al. "Uneven Playing Field? Assessing the Teacher Quality Gap Between Advantaged and Disadvantaged Students." Educational Researcher, vol. 44, no. 5, 1 June 2015, doi:10.3102/0013189X15592622

Klopfenstein, Kristin. "Advanced Placement: Do Minorities Have Equal Opportunity?" Economics of Education Review , vol. 23, no. 2, Apr. 2004, pp. 115-131., doi:10.1016/S0272-7757(03)00076-1

Javdani, Shabnam. "Policing Education: An Empirical Review of the Challenges and Impact of the Work of School Police Officers." American Journal of Community Psychology , vol. 63, no. 3-4, June 2019, pp. 253-269., doi:10.1002/ajcp.12306

McArdle, Nancy, and Dolores Acevedo-Garcia. "Consequences of Segregation for Children’s Opportunity and Wellbeing." A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality. Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2017.

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An Essay for Teachers Who Understand Racism Is Real

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This essay is not to enumerate the recent murders of Black people by police, justify why protest and uprising are important for social change, or remind us why NFL player Colin Kaepernick took a knee. If you have missed those points, blamed victims, or proclaimed “All Lives Matter,” this article is not for you, and you may want to ask yourself whether you should be teaching any children, especially Black children.

This article is for teachers who understand that racism is real, anti-Blackness is real, and state-sanctioned violence, which allows police to kill Black people with impunity, is real. It is for teachers who know change is necessary and want to understand exactly what kind of change we need as a country.

Politicians who know the words “justice” and “equity” only when they want peace in the streets are going to try to persuade us that they are capable of reforming centuries of oppression by changing policies, adding more accountability measures, and removing the “bad apples” from among police.

More From This Author:

“Teachers, We Cannot Go Back to the Way Things Were” “White Teachers Need Anti-Racist Therapy” “How Schools Are ‘Spirit Murdering’ Black and Brown Students” “Dear White Teachers: You Can’t Love Your Black Students If You Don’t Know Them” “‘Grit Is in Our DNA': Why Teaching Grit Is Inherently Anti-Black”

These actions will sound comprehensive and, with time, a solution to injustice. These reforms may even reduce police killings or school suspensions of Black students, but as civil rights activist Ella Baker said, a “reduction of injustice is not the same as freedom.” Reformists want incremental change, but Black lives are being lost with every day we wait. And to be Black is to live in a constant state of exhaustion.

Centuries of Black resistance and protest have had a profound impact on the nation. As Nikole Hannah-Jones, the creator of “The 1619 Project,” points out, “We have helped the country to live up to its founding ideals. ... Without the idealistic, strenuous, and patriotic efforts of Black Americans, our democracy today would most likely look very different—it might not be a democracy at all.” Those civil rights achievements were critical, including the reformist ones.

But reform is no longer enough. Too often, reform is rooted in Whiteness because it appeases White liberals who need to see change but want to maintain their status, power, and supremacy.

Abolition of oppression is needed because reform still did not stop a police officer from putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck in broad daylight for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; it did not stop police from killing Breonna Taylor in her own home. Also that: Largely non-White school districts get $23 billion less in state and local funding than predominantly White ones; Black people make up 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for 26 percent of the deaths from COVID-19; and with only 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States has nearly 25 percent of the world’s prison population. We need to be honest: We cannot reform something this monstrous; we have to abolish it.

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Abolitionists want to eliminate what is oppressive, not reform it, not reimagine it, but remove oppression by its roots. Abolitionists want to understand the conditions that normalize oppression and uproot those conditions, too. Abolitionists, in the words of scholar and activist Bill Ayers, “demand the impossible” and work to build a world rooted in the possibilities of justice. Abolitionists are not anarchists because, as we eliminate these systems, we want to build conditions that create institutions that are just, loving, equitable, and center Black lives.

Abolitionism is not a social-justice trend. It is a way of life defined by commitment to working toward a humanity where no one is disposable, prisons no longer exist, being Black is not a crime, teachers have high expectations for Black and Brown children, and joy is seen as a foundation of learning.

Abolitionists strive for that reality by fighting for a divestment of law enforcement to redistribute funds to education, housing, jobs, and health care; elimination of high-stakes testing; replacement of watered-down and Eurocentric materials from educational publishers like Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt with community-created standards and curriculum; the end of police presence in schools; employment of Black teachers en masse; hiring of therapists and counselors who believe Black lives matter in schools; destruction of inner-city schools that resemble prisons; and elimination of suspension in favor of restorative justice.

Abolitionist work is hard and demands an indomitable spirit of resistance. As a nation, we saw this spirit in Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. We also see it in 21st-century abolitionists like Angela Davis, Charlene Carruthers, Erica Meiners, Derecka Purnell, David Stovall, and Farima Pour-Khorshid.

For non-Black people, abolitionism requires giving up the idea of being an “ally” to become a “co-conspirator.” Many social-justice groups have shifted the language to “co-conspirator” because allies work toward something that is mutually beneficial and supportive to all parties. Co-conspirators, in contrast, understand how Whiteness and privilege work in our society and leverage their power, privilege, and resources in solidarity with justice movements to dismantle White supremacy. Co-conspirators function as verbs, not as nouns.

The journey for abolitionists and our co-conspirators is arduous, but we fight for a future that will never need to be reformed again because it was built as just from the beginning.

Related Video

In 2016, Bettina L. Love, the author of this essay, spoke to Education Week about African-American girls and discipline. Here’s what she had to say:

A version of this article appeared in the June 17, 2020 edition of Education Week as For Teachers Who Understand Racism Is Real

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Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education

Subscribe to governance weekly, linda darling-hammond ld linda darling-hammond.

March 1, 1998

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W.E.B. DuBois was right about the problem of the 21st century. The color line divides us still. In recent years, the most visible evidence of this in the public policy arena has been the persistent attack on affirmative action in higher education and employment. From the perspective of many Americans who believe that the vestiges of discrimination have disappeared, affirmative action now provides an unfair advantage to minorities. From the perspective of others who daily experience the consequences of ongoing discrimination, affirmative action is needed to protect opportunities likely to evaporate if an affirmative obligation to act fairly does not exist. And for Americans of all backgrounds, the allocation of opportunity in a society that is becoming ever more dependent on knowledge and education is a source of great anxiety and concern.

At the center of these debates are interpretations of the gaps in educational achievement between white and non-Asian minority students as measured by standardized test scores. The presumption that guides much of the conversation is that equal opportunity now exists; therefore, continued low levels of achievement on the part of minority students must be a function of genes, culture, or a lack of effort and will (see, for example, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve and Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom’s America in Black and White).

The assumptions that undergird this debate miss an important reality: educational outcomes for minority children are much more a function of their unequal access to key educational resources, including skilled teachers and quality curriculum, than they are a function of race. In fact, the U.S. educational system is one of the most unequal in the industrialized world, and students routinely receive dramatically different learning opportunities based on their social status. In contrast to European and Asian nations that fund schools centrally and equally, the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. school districts spend nearly 10 times more than the poorest 10 percent, and spending ratios of 3 to 1 are common within states. Despite stark differences in funding, teacher quality, curriculum, and class sizes, the prevailing view is that if students do not achieve, it is their own fault. If we are ever to get beyond the problem of the color line, we must confront and address these inequalities.

The Nature of Educational Inequality

Americans often forget that as late as the 1960s most African-American, Latino, and Native American students were educated in wholly segregated schools funded at rates many times lower than those serving whites and were excluded from many higher education institutions entirely. The end of legal segregation followed by efforts to equalize spending since 1970 has made a substantial difference for student achievement. On every major national test, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the gap in minority and white students’ test scores narrowed substantially between 1970 and 1990, especially for elementary school students. On the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), the scores of African-American students climbed 54 points between 1976 and 1994, while those of white students remained stable.

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Even so, educational experiences for minority students have continued to be substantially separate and unequal. Two-thirds of minority students still attend schools that are predominantly minority, most of them located in central cities and funded well below those in neighboring suburban districts. Recent analyses of data prepared for school finance cases in Alabama, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, and Texas have found that on every tangible measure—from qualified teachers to curriculum offerings—schools serving greater numbers of students of color had significantly fewer resources than schools serving mostly white students. As William L. Taylor and Dianne Piche noted in a 1991 report to Congress: Inequitable systems of school finance inflict disproportionate harm on minority and economically disadvantaged students. On an inter-state basis, such students are concentrated in states, primarily in the South, that have the lowest capacities to finance public education. On an intra-state basis, many of the states with the widest disparities in educational expenditures are large industrial states. In these states, many minorities and economically disadvantaged students are located in property-poor urban districts which fare the worst in educational expenditures (or) in rural districts which suffer from fiscal inequity.

Jonathan Kozol s 1991 Savage Inequalities described the striking differences between public schools serving students of color in urban settings and their suburban counterparts, which typically spend twice as much per student for populations with many fewer special needs. Contrast MacKenzie High School in Detroit, where word processing courses are taught without word processors because the school cannot afford them, or East St. Louis Senior High School, whose biology lab has no laboratory tables or usable dissecting kits, with nearby suburban schools where children enjoy a computer hookup to Dow Jones to study stock transactions and science laboratories that rival those in some industries. Or contrast Paterson, New Jersey, which could not afford the qualified teachers needed to offer foreign language courses to most high school students, with Princeton, where foreign languages begin in elementary school.

Even within urban school districts, schools with high concentrations of low-income and minority students receive fewer instructional resources than others. And tracking systems exacerbate these inequalities by segregating many low-income and minority students within schools. In combination, these policies leave minority students with fewer and lower-quality books, curriculum materials, laboratories, and computers; significantly larger class sizes; less qualified and experienced teachers; and less access to high-quality curriculum. Many schools serving low-income and minority students do not even offer the math and science courses needed for college, and they provide lower-quality teaching in the classes they do offer. It all adds up.

What Difference Does it Make?

Since the 1966 Coleman report, Equality of Educational Opportunity, another debate has waged as to whether money makes a difference to educational outcomes. It is certainly possible to spend money ineffectively; however, studies that have developed more sophisticated measures of schooling show how money, properly spent, makes a difference. Over the past 30 years, a large body of research has shown that four factors consistently influence student achievement: all else equal, students perform better if they are educated in smaller schools where they are well known (300 to 500 students is optimal), have smaller class sizes (especially at the elementary level), receive a challenging curriculum, and have more highly qualified teachers.

Minority students are much less likely than white children to have any of these resources. In predominantly minority schools, which most students of color attend, schools are large (on average, more than twice as large as predominantly white schools and reaching 3,000 students or more in most cities); on average, class sizes are 15 percent larger overall (80 percent larger for non-special education classes); curriculum offerings and materials are lower in quality; and teachers are much less qualified in terms of levels of education, certification, and training in the fields they teach. And in integrated schools, as UCLA professor Jeannie Oakes described in the 1980s and Harvard professor Gary Orfield’s research has recently confirmed, most minority students are segregated in lower-track classes with larger class sizes, less qualified teachers, and lower-quality curriculum.

Research shows that teachers’ preparation makes a tremendous difference to children’s learning. In an analysis of 900 Texas school districts, Harvard economist Ronald Ferguson found that teachers’ expertise—as measured by scores on a licensing examination, master’s degrees, and experienc—was the single most important determinant of student achievement, accounting for roughly 40 percent of the measured variance in students’ reading and math achievement gains in grades 1-12. After controlling for socioeconomic status, the large disparities in achievement between black and white students were almost entirely due to differences in the qualifications of their teachers. In combination, differences in teacher expertise and class sizes accounted for as much of the measured variance in achievement as did student and family background (figure 1).

Ferguson and Duke economist Helen Ladd repeated this analysis in Alabama and again found sizable influences of teacher qualifications and smaller class sizes on achievement gains in math and reading. They found that more of the difference between the high- and low-scoring districts was explained by teacher qualifications and class sizes than by poverty, race, and parent education.

Meanwhile, a Tennessee study found that elementary school students who are assigned to ineffective teachers for three years in a row score nearly 50 percentile points lower on achievement tests than those assigned to highly effective teachers over the same period. Strikingly, minority students are about half as likely to be assigned to the most effective teachers and twice as likely to be assigned to the least effective.

Minority students are put at greatest risk by the American tradition of allowing enormous variation in the qualifications of teachers. The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future found that new teachers hired without meeting certification standards (25 percent of all new teachers) are usually assigned to teach the most disadvantaged students in low-income and high-minority schools, while the most highly educated new teachers are hired largely by wealthier schools (figure 2). Students in poor or predominantly minority schools are much less likely to have teachers who are fully qualified or hold higher-level degrees. In schools with the highest minority enrollments, for example, students have less than a 50 percent chance of getting a math or science teacher with a license and a degree in the field. In 1994, fully one-third of teachers in high-poverty schools taught without a minor in their main field and nearly 70 percent taught without a minor in their secondary teaching field.

Studies of underprepared teachers consistently find that they are less effective with students and that they have difficulty with curriculum development, classroom management, student motivation, and teaching strategies. With little knowledge about how children grow, learn, and develop, or about what to do to support their learning, these teachers are less likely to understand students’ learning styles and differences, to anticipate students’ knowledge and potential difficulties, or to plan and redirect instruction to meet students’ needs. Nor are they likely to see it as their job to do so, often blaming the students if their teaching is not successful.

Teacher expertise and curriculum quality are interrelated, because a challenging curriculum requires an expert teacher. Research has found that both students and teachers are tracked: that is, the most expert teachers teach the most demanding courses to the most advantaged students, while lower-track students assigned to less able teachers receive lower-quality teaching and less demanding material. Assignment to tracks is also related to race: even when grades and test scores are comparable, black students are more likely to be assigned to lower-track, nonacademic classes.

When Opportunity Is More Equal

What happens when students of color do get access to more equal opportunities’ Studies find that curriculum quality and teacher skill make more difference to educational outcomes than the initial test scores or racial backgrounds of students. Analyses of national data from both the High School and Beyond Surveys and the National Educational Longitudinal Surveys have demonstrated that, while there are dramatic differences among students of various racial and ethnic groups in course-taking in such areas as math, science, and foreign language, for students with similar course-taking records, achievement test score differences by race or ethnicity narrow substantially.

Robert Dreeben and colleagues at the University of Chicago conducted a long line of studies documenting both the relationship between educational opportunities and student performance and minority students’ access to those opportunities. In a comparative study of 300 Chicago first graders, for example, Dreeben found that African-American and white students who had comparable instruction achieved comparable levels of reading skill. But he also found that the quality of instruction given African-American students was, on average, much lower than that given white students, thus creating a racial gap in aggregate achievement at the end of first grade. In fact, the highest-ability group in Dreeben’s sample was in a school in a low-income African-American neighborhood. These children, though, learned less during first grade than their white counterparts because their teacher was unable to provide the challenging instruction they deserved.

When schools have radically different teaching forces, the effects can be profound. For example, when Eleanor Armour-Thomas and colleagues compared a group of exceptionally effective elementary schools with a group of low-achieving schools with similar demographic characteristics in New York City, roughly 90 percent of the variance in student reading and mathematics scores at grades 3, 6, and 8 was a function of differences in teacher qualifications. The schools with highly qualified teachers serving large numbers of minority and low-income students performed as well as much more advantaged schools.

Most studies have estimated effects statistically. However, an experiment that randomly assigned seventh grade “at-risk”students to remedial, average, and honors mathematics classes found that the at-risk students who took the honors class offering a pre-algebra curriculum ultimately outperformed all other students of similar backgrounds. Another study compared African-American high school youth randomly placed in public housing in the Chicago suburbs with city-placed peers of equivalent income and initial academic attainment and found that the suburban students, who attended largely white and better-funded schools, were substantially more likely to take challenging courses, perform well academically, graduate on time, attend college, and find good jobs.

What Can Be Done?

This state of affairs is not inevitable. Last year the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future issued a blueprint for a comprehensive set of policies to ensure a “caring, competent, and qualified teacher for every child,” as well as schools organized to support student success. Twelve states are now working directly with the commission on this agenda, and others are set to join this year. Several pending bills to overhaul the federal Higher Education Act would ensure that highly qualified teachers are recruited and prepared for students in all schools. Federal policymakers can develop incentives, as they have in medicine, to guarantee well-prepared teachers in shortage fields and high-need locations. States can equalize education spending, enforce higher teaching standards, and reduce teacher shortages, as Connecticut, Kentucky, Minnesota, and North Carolina have already done. School districts can reallocate resources from administrative superstructures and special add-on programs to support better-educated teachers who offer a challenging curriculum in smaller schools and classes, as restructured schools as far apart as New York and San Diego have done. These schools, in communities where children are normally written off to lives of poverty, welfare dependency, or incarceration, already produce much higher levels of achievement for students of color, sending more than 90 percent of their students to college. Focusing on what matters most can make a real difference in what children have the opportunity to learn. This, in turn, makes a difference in what communities can accomplish.

An Entitlement to Good Teaching

The common presumption about educational inequality—that it resides primarily in those students who come to school with inadequate capacities to benefit from what the school has to offer—continues to hold wide currency because the extent of inequality in opportunities to learn is largely unknown. We do not currently operate schools on the presumption that students might be entitled to decent teaching and schooling as a matter of course. In fact, some state and local defendants have countered school finance and desegregation cases with assertions that such remedies are not required unless it can be proven that they will produce equal outcomes. Such arguments against equalizing opportunities to learn have made good on DuBois’s prediction that the problem of the 20th century would be the problem of the color line.

But education resources do make a difference, particularly when funds are used to purchase well-qualified teachers and high-quality curriculum and to create personalized learning communities in which children are well known. In all of the current sturm und drang about affirmative action, “special treatment,” and the other high-volatility buzzwords for race and class politics in this nation, I would offer a simple starting point for the next century s efforts: no special programs, just equal educational opportunity.

Governance Studies

Richard V. Reeves, Simran Kalkat

April 18, 2023

Gabriel R. Sanchez, Carly Bennett

April 12, 2023

Sarah Reber, Ember Smith

January 23, 2023

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Essays About Discrimination: Top 5 Examples and 8 Prompts

You must know how to connect with your readers to write essays about discrimination effectively; read on for our top essay examples, including prompts that will help you write.

Discrimination comes in many forms and still happens to many individuals or groups today. It occurs when there’s a distinction or bias against someone because of their age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Discrimination can happen to anyone wherever and whenever they are. Unfortunately, it’s a problem that society is yet to solve entirely. Here are five in-depth examples of this theme’s subcategories to guide you in creating your essays about discrimination.

1. Essay On Discrimination For Students In Easy Words by Prateek

2. personal discrimination experience by naomi nakatani, 3. prejudice and discrimination by william anderson, 4. socioeconomic class discrimination in luca by krystal ibarra, 5. the new way of discrimination by writer bill, 1. my discrimination experience, 2. what can i do to stop discrimination, 3. discrimination in my community, 4. the cost of discrimination, 5. examples of discrimination, 6. discrimination in sports: segregating men and women, 7. how to stop my discrimination against others, 8. what should groups do to fight discrimination.

“In the current education system, the condition of education and its promotion of equality is very important. The education system should be a good place for each and every student. It must be on the basis of equal opportunities for each student in every country. It must be free of discrimination.”

Prateek starts his essay by telling the story of a student having difficulty getting admitted to a college because of high fees. He then poses the question of how the student will be able to get an education when he can’t have the opportunity to do so in the first place. He goes on to discuss UNESCO’s objectives against discrimination. 

Further in the essay, the author defines discrimination and cites instances when it happens. Prateek also compares past and present discrimination, ending the piece by saying it should stop and everyone deserves to be treated fairly.

“I thought that there is no discrimination before I actually had discrimination… I think we must treat everyone equally even though people speak different languages or have different colors of skin.”

In her short essay, Nakatani shares the experiences that made her feel discriminated against when she visited the US. She includes a fellow guest saying she and her mother can’t use the shared pool in a hotel they stay in because they are Japanese and getting cheated of her money when she bought from a small shop because she can’t speak English very well.

“Whether intentional or not, prejudice and discrimination ensure the continuance of inequality in the United States. Even subconsciously, we are furthering inequality through our actions and reactions to others… Because these forces are universally present in our daily lives, the way we use them or reject them will determine how they affect us.”

Anderson explains the direct relationship between prejudice and discrimination. He also gives examples of these occurrences in the past (blacks and whites segregation) and modern times (sexism, racism, etc.)

He delves into society’s fault for playing the “blame game” and choosing to ignore each other’s perspectives, leading to stereotypes. He also talks about affirmative action committees that serve to protect minorities.

“Something important to point out is that there is prejudice when it comes to people of lower class or economic standing, there are stereotypes that label them as untrustworthy, lazy, and even dangerous. This thought is fed by the just-world phenomenon, that of low economic status are uneducated, lazy, and are more likely to be substance abusers, and thus get what they deserve.”

Ibarra recounts how she discovered Pixar’s Luca and shares what she thought of the animation, focusing on how the film encapsulates socioeconomic discrimination in its settings. She then discusses the characters and their relationships with the protagonist. Finally, Ibarra notes how the movie alluded to flawed characters, such as having a smaller boat, mismatched or recycled kitchen furniture, and no shoes. 

The other cast even taunts Luca, saying he smells and gets his clothes from a dead person. These are typical things marginalized communities experience in real life. At the end of her essay, Ibarra points out how society is dogmatic against the lower class, thinking they are abusers. In Luca, the wealthy antagonist is shown to be violent and lazy.

“Even though the problem of discrimination has calmed down, it still happens… From these past experiences, we can realize that solutions to tough problems come in tough ways.”

The author introduces people who called out discrimination, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Barbara Henry – the only teacher who decided to teach Ruby Bridges, despite her skin color. 

He then moves on to mention the variations of present-day discrimination. He uses Donald Trump and the border he wants to build to keep the Hispanics out as an example. Finally, Bill ends the essay by telling the readers those who discriminate against others are bullies who want to get a reaction out of their victims. 

Do you get intimidated when you need to write an essay? Don’t be! If writing an essay makes you nervous, do it step by step. To start, write a simple 5 paragraph essay .

Prompts on Essays About Discrimination

Below are writing prompts that can inspire you on what to focus on when writing your discrimination essay:

Essays About Discrimination: My discrimination experience

Have you had to go through an aggressor who disliked you because you’re you? Write an essay about this incident, how it happened, what you felt during the episode, and what you did afterward. You can also include how it affected the way you interact with people. For example, did you try to tone down a part of yourself or change how you speak to avoid conflict?

List ways on how you can participate in lessening incidents of discrimination. Your list can include calling out biases, reporting to proper authorities, or spreading awareness of what discrimination is.

Is there an ongoing prejudice you observe in your school, subdivision, etc.? If other people in your community go through this unjust treatment, you can interview them and incorporate their thoughts on the matter.

Tackle what victims of discrimination have to go through daily. You can also talk about how it affected their life in the long run, such as having low self-esteem that limited their potential and opportunities and being frightened of getting involved with other individuals who may be bigots.

For this prompt, you can choose a subtopic to zero in on, like Workplace Discrimination, Disability Discrimination, and others. Then, add sample situations to demonstrate the unfairness better.

What are your thoughts on the different game rules for men and women? Do you believe these rules are just? Cite news incidents to make your essay more credible. For example, you can mention the incident where the Norwegian women’s beach handball team got fined for wearing tops and shorts instead of bikinis.

Since we learn to discriminate because of the society we grew up in, it’s only normal to be biased unintentionally. When you catch yourself having these partialities, what do you do? How do you train yourself not to discriminate against others?

Focus on an area of discrimination and suggest methods to lessen its instances. To give you an idea, you can concentrate on Workplace Discrimination, starting from its hiring process. You can propose that applicants are chosen based on their skills, so the company can implement a hiring procedure where applicants should go through written tests first before personal interviews.

If you instead want to focus on topics that include people from all walks of life, talk about diversity. Here’s an excellent guide on how to write an essay about diversity .

essay on discrimination in schools

Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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Racial Discrimination and Justice in Education Essay

The impact of racism in schools and on the mental health of students.

Funding is one of the main factors that ensure racial segregation and exacerbation of the plight of the black population. Being initially in a more disastrous economic situation, racial minority populations fall into a vicious circle. Low-funded schools in poor areas have low academic ratings, which further contributes to the reduction of the material base. Due to their poor academic performance and the need to earn a living, many minorities are deprived of the opportunity to receive prestigious higher education. They are left with low-skilled jobs, which makes it impossible for their children to go to private school or move to a prestigious area with well-funded public schools. In institutions with little funding, unfortunately, manifestations of racism still prevail.

A significant factor in systemic racism in modern schools is the theory of colorblindness as the prevailing ideology in schools and pedagogical universities. The total avoidance of racial topics in schools has led to a complete absence of material related to the culture of racial minorities in the curricula. An example is the complaint of the parents of one of the black students that, during the passage of civilizations, the Greeks, Romans, and Incas were discussed in the lessons, but nothing was said about Africa. However, there were a few African American students in the class (Yi et al., 2022). The white director justified herself by saying that this was the curriculum and that it was not customary at school to divide people by skin color. In response, the student’s mother stated that children have eyes, and they see everything. And she would like them to see that we had a strong and fruitful culture. This state of affairs is justified by the proponents of assimilationism and American patriotism, built mainly around the honoring of the merits of white settlers and the founding fathers.

Meanwhile, the works of many researchers provide evidence that a high level of colorblindness among students correlates with greater racial intolerance. One study on race relations was conducted among young “millennials”. As a result, thousands of reports were recorded of openly racist statements and actions of white people from the field of view of these students (Plaut, et al., 2018). Another study on colorblindness found that white students who avoid mentioning racial issues were less friendly on assignments with black partners. This could be because they have less eye contact.

The shortcomings of the described situation affect not only black students but also white teachers who have not received proper training in their time on how best to take into account the characteristics of students from racial minorities. One researcher writes that in his entire experience in multicultural education, he faced the almost universal embarrassment that racial issues caused to white teachers. A common complaint is: I feel helpless. What am I, as a white teacher, to do? One educator remarked that he had never seen African-American teachers say that they did not distinguish between races (Mekawi et al., 2017). This is further proof that racism and the factors leading to it contribute only to the split of social ties at school. Students from racial minorities feel this burden the most, which leads to their feeling of constant alienation. During the school years, conflicts with children “not like the rest” are especially aggravated – the state of affairs described above provides the basis for constant skirmishes, fights, and tension in institutions.

Suggestions for Creating an Inclusive School Environment

Among the educational factors supporting the status quo of widespread structural racism are the following. This is the system of financing public schools and the dominance of the ideology of colorblindness in schools and pedagogical universities. In the opposite direction, there is such a factor as the peculiarity of keeping educational statistics (Welton, et al., 2018). By providing up-to-date information on the state of affairs of students of various racial and ethnic groups, statistics give rise to the search for optimal solutions in the field of school policy.

The inclusion of racial and ethnic dimensions in educational statistics is intended to provide an objective assessment of the current situation regarding racial differences in American society in order to develop and improve racially relevant policies. In recent years, the ideas of culturally relevant pedagogy have been actively promoted in the US educational sphere. American citizens are becoming more interested and enlightened in the field of racial issues, which can be seen in activist speeches and anti-racist public actions.

It is crucial to teach racism in schools so that all pupils may understand what it is, how it affects, and how to stop tolerating it. There are many publications and learning experience plans that address racism. It is essential to ask teachers and principals to integrate lessons on racism into the syllabus. One can also request that your teachers incorporate novels with a variety of subjects (Welton, et al., 2018). Then, it is important to request that the school draft an inclusion and zero-tolerance statement. Counselors can encourage the instructors and administration to implement these policies at the school if they do not already exist in the code of conduct or other policies (Pizarro & Kohli, 2020). It is critical that schools have clear policies about race and how individuals are treated on campus.

Resources for the School Counselor to Deal With Prejudice and Its Impact at the School

Mekawi, Y., Bresin, K. & Hunter, C.D. (2017). Who is more likely to “not see race”? individual differences in racial colorblindness. Race and Social Problems, 9 (1), 207–217. Web.

The authors claim that many Americans support a colorblind racial philosophy, which emphasizes sameness and the equitable allocation of resources without regard to race. The current study looked at the relationships between aggressiveness, and empathy in white undergraduates and three distinct types of racial colorblindness, including ignorance of racial privilege, ignorance of institutional discrimination, and ignorance of overt racism. The findings showed two distinct trends. In contrast to ignorance of overt racism and institutional discrimination, which were linked to poorer cooperativeness, cognitive flexibility, and empathic concern, ignorance of racial privilege was associated with lower openness and viewpoint-taking. These findings are addressed in light of a larger body of research on bias and personality.

Pizarro, M., & Kohli, R. (2020). “I stopped sleeping”: Teachers of color and the impact of racial Battle Fatigue. Urban Education, 55 (7), 967–991. Web.

According to the authors, an operational definition of racial battle fatigue (RBF) is the mental, emotional, and physical costs of fighting racism. RBF is employed in this article to examine the effects of racism on educators of color who work in a predominately “White profession.” The scholars share counterstories of urban academics of color who confront racism on a regular basis in their workplaces. This has a negative effect on their well-being and ability to stay in the profession. The authors also discuss their resiliency and resistance tactics since they depend on a supportive community to persevere and change their schools.

Plaut, V. C., Thomas, K. M., Hurd, K., & Romano, C. A. (2018). Do Color blindness and multiculturalism remedy or foster discrimination and racism? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27 (3), 200–206. Web.

This article gives psychology science’s perspective on the question of whether multiculturalism and colorblindness are more likely to prevent prejudice and racism than they are to promote it. The authors first concentrate on the results of a color-blind model. The study in this area reveals that while colorblindness may be appealing to certain people, it can also make people less sensitive to racism and prejudice. Additionally, according to the literature, color blindness generally has detrimental effects on intergroup relationships, minorities’ perceptions and results, and the promotion of diversity and inclusion in organizational settings. In the second section, the scholars look at the situations in which a multicultural perspective has beneficial or bad effects on intergroup relations, organizational diversity initiatives, and discrimination.

Welton, A. D., Owens, D. R., & Zamani-Gallaher, E. M. (2018). Anti-racist change: A conceptual framework for educational institutions to take systemic action. Teachers College Record, 120 (14), 1–22. Web.

In order to attain racial justice in education, people’s mindsets must also be changed to embrace a more anti-racist worldview. In order to investigate whether behaviors and leadership qualities could really encourage institutional change for racial justice, the authors review two sets of literature: studies on anti-racism and institutional transformation. However, they admit the constraints of each set of studies. The organizational transformation research often ignores equity concerns, notably racial conversations, while anti-racism research is more ideological and theoretical. The scholars combine essential ideas from the literature on organizational change and anti-racism to propose a conceptual framework that may be utilized to create a systematic anti-racist change at a wide level.

Yi, J., Neville, H. A., Todd, N. R., & Mekawi, Y. (2022). Ignoring race and denying racism: A meta-analysis of the associations between colorblind racial ideology, anti-Blackness, and other variables antithetical to racial justice . Journal of Counseling Psychology . Web.

The authors sought to comprehend how colorblind racial ideology (CBRI), or the rejection and minimizing of race and racism, can act as an obstacle to engaging in antiracist practice by relying on antiracism research. To find out if color evasion (ignorance of race) and power evasion (defiance of structural racism) CBRI were differently connected with anti-Blackness and mechanisms related to antiracism, the scholars specifically performed a meta-analysis. Results from 83 research with more than 25,000 participants and 375 effects reveal that varied effects depend on the kind of CBRI. The area of counseling psychology may be pushed by this meta-analysis to construct a bridge between different ideologies and the development of systemic reform.

Plaut, V. C., Thomas, K. M., Hurd, K., & Romano, C. A. (2018). Do color blindness and multiculturalism remedy or foster discrimination and racism? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27 (3), 200–206. Web.

Yi, J., Neville, H. A., Todd, N. R., & Mekawi, Y. (2022). Ignoring race and denying racism: A meta-analysis of the associations between colorblind racial ideology, anti-Blackness, and other variables antithetical to racial justice. Journal of Counseling Psychology . Web.

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  • Colorblindness as a Reason for Workplace Discrimination
  • How to Be an Antiracist Book by Kendi
  • Colorblind Racism and Its Minimization
  • Can America Ever Be Completely Anti-Racist?
  • Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race in School
  • Racial Problems in the World: "Colorblind" by Tim Wise
  • Ethnicity Problem in the USA
  • Colorblind Society: Race and Skin Color in America
  • Anti-Racism in Shakespeare’s Othello
  • Anti-Racism Policy Statement in Australian Schools
  • “Letter From Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Vertical Lines of Power or Authority
  • Racism in the Healthcare Sector
  • Unraveling the Science of Human Races
  • Racism in Healthcare and Education
  • Our Mission

Eliminating Anti-Black Hair Policies at School

Moving away from dress codes that ban natural Black hairstyles such as Afros and locs fosters a more inclusive community.

Black student raises her hand in class

For the last two years, educators all over the country have expressed an interest in creating schools that are genuinely inclusive. We recognize that students who experience a sense of belonging at school have greater levels of emotional wellness and academic achievement. Yet, as of today, a search for hair discrimination in schools results in more than 30 million hits. There are simply too many examples of Black children’s academic opportunities being impacted by their hair. 

There have even been laws enacted to end hair discrimination in schools and workplaces in response to this growing concern. The CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act , for example, has been signed into law in 19 states and counting. So, how can school leaders eliminate discriminatory hair policies and be identity affirming as it relates to Black hair?

4 Ways School Administrators Can End Anti-Black Hair Policies

1. Improve school culture. Numerous studies have shown that the majority of Black girls and some Black boys have dealt with hair-related harassment, teasing, or bullying at school. Administrators can begin to turn this around by doing the following:

  • Encouraging teachers to have students take a deep dive into hair discrimination. Hearing students’ thoughts on the issue can provide a lot of insight. When I was an eighth-grade English teacher, we listened to Solange Knowles’s “ Don’t Touch My Hair ,” read the lyrics, and explored the relationship between our hair and our identity. We all learned from each other during the discussions and related writing assignments. 
  • Always addressing community members’ biased or unkind comments about Black hair. Whether the offense is deliberate or unintentional, it’s a teachable moment for addressing the larger implications of bias. 
  • Empowering students to critically review school dress code policies, especially those that are related to hair. Young people enjoy the idea of being involved in creating or dismantling rules, and it serves as an organic lesson about policy-making and revision. 

2. Enhance representation. Representation creates opportunities for all students to embrace and celebrate Black hair. This morning I was scrolling on Instagram and saw a repost from @kabee_315, a Black teacher. The caption read as follows: “After seeing one of my kids crying because one of the boys made fun of her hair, I was reminded of a picture of a teacher who copied her student’s hairstyle for a similar reason. The next day I brought my supplies to school and copied her hairstyle… We had a class conversation about how our words and actions impact each other.”

This is one of many examples of how representation is an incredibly powerful force for children. Books we choose to teach, historical and current-day figures we talk about, images we display throughout the school, and guests we invite to speak at assemblies all provide opportunities to increase representation and create an identity-affirming setting that benefits all students. 

3. Acknowledge bias. At the root of race-based hair discrimination are systemic racism and bias. This contributes to the idea that Black hair cannot be both natural and professional. 

Start by acknowledging bias in your hair preferences, and encourage others to do the same. Reading the Perception Institute’s ”Good Hair“ study is a great place to start. 

4. Evaluate dress codes. During a study I conducted in 2020 , my research partner and I randomly selected and audited dress codes at schools across the country. Around 70 percent of them mentioned hair, 20 percent forbade students to wear their hair in Afros, and around 20 percent forbade students to wear their hair in braids. 

Here are two critical questions we can ask ourselves about our school’s dress code policies: 

  • What is the purpose of this rule? Often we rationalize dress code policies by saying that they prevent distraction. What message are we perpetuating by telling Black children that their hair is a distraction?
  • Are Black students disproportionately impacted by this policy? According to the model policy from the Dignity in Schools Campaign , dress codes prohibiting “braids, locs, beads, Afros, Afro-puffs, weaves, extensions, hair worn naturally,” target Black children and faculty.

Hair discrimination isn’t about aesthetics. There are lots of related topics you can explore to help you understand the issue .

  • NAACP Resolution: Hair Discrimination Is Race Discrimination
  • “Black Girls’ Identities and Resistance”
  • “For Black students, unfairly harsh discipline can lead to lower grades”
  • “When Black Women Used Hair Braids to Escape Slavery”

Even though we’re talking about anti-Black hair policies, dress codes and all elements of school culture should also be critically assessed periodically to determine the impact on all marginalized groups, such as other people of color, people who are female-identifying, those who are gender-expansive, or those who are part of a religious minority. Our ongoing and concerted efforts will go a long way toward providing identity-affirming spaces for all members of our school communities.

  • Health Care

How Racism Affects the Mental Health of Black Youth

Mental health experts assumed that people of all races had the same risk factors for self-harm -- emerging evidence suggests that is not the case. (Julien James/The New York Times)

O n Sept. 25, 2023, the Biden-Harris administration announced that it will be investing some  $200 million  in the youth mental health crisis. Since youth mental health was declared a national  emergency  in 2021, multiple experts, including the U.S.  Surgeon General , have cited social media and the COVID-19 pandemic, among other things, as major contributing factors. 

But what has not been talked about to the same extent, is how anti-Black racism is fueling the youth mental health crisis. Racism has a crucial impact on the mental health of Black youth, and the current mental health system is not equipped to address it. 

As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I’ve witnessed the depressive, even suicidal effects of racism on Black youth. The kindergartener who was sad and withdrawn for weeks after her white classmates said her skin was too dark to play with them. The fourth grader who said she wanted to die because her white neighbors told her that her black skin was ugly. The affluent high schooler who was hospitalized after a suicide attempt because she was ostracized by her peers and excessively punished by teachers at her predominantly white prep school. Each time, I was the only mental health clinician involved who cited the crucial contribution of anti-Black racism in their mental health assessment. Interpersonal experiences of anti-Black racism play a large role in the mental health of Black youth, and the current youth mental health crisis, but they are largely left out of the conversation in the mental health field.  

The truth is that the effects of racism on the mental health of Black Americans start even before birth. The stress of racism experienced by Black mothers has been linked to  low birthweight  babies, which puts those children at  greater risk  for developing depression and other child mental health issues. Prenatal anti-Black racism can also have other persistent effects. Maternal reports of racism affect the socio-emotional development of Black children in their first year of life, with links to  negative emotionality . 

Yet another indication that the distinct experiences of racism in America affect Black birth outcomes in ways that do not apply to other racially minoritized groups: Foreign-born Black mothers who experience better birthweight outcomes lose the “healthy immigrant effect” after only  one generation , according to a 2020 study published by Princeton University, while foreign-born Hispanic mothers retain it for generations. 

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Indeed, Black children and adolescents are suffering at unprecedented rates, and have been for over 20 years . Black youth are dying by suicide at rates increasing faster than any other racial or ethnic group: Black children as young as five years old are 1.8 times as likely to commit suicide compared to their white peers. The suicide rates of other ethnic groups, except for Latinx and American Indian/Alaskan Native youth, have remained virtually the same or declined , even from 2019 to 2020 in the height of the pandemic.

Read More: The Physical Toll Systemic Injustice Takes On the Body

By preschool age , Black children have their own experiences of anti-Black racism, in addition to those of their mothers and families. One study showed that anti-Black racist beliefs emerge as early as age four. In particular, white children have been found to have more negative attitudes towards Black peers and prefer white over Black children as playmates. Black children experience racism from adults, as well, and are disciplined more harshly in schools from an early age. Black preschoolers, especially Black boys, are significantly more likely to be expelled than white peers. This is not surprising given that teachers complain more about the behaviors of Black boys and white adults view them as more dangerous than their white peers.

Although sometimes overlooked, Black girls are not spared, receiving  harsher school  discipline compared to white girls. This criminalization of Black students leads to  poor grades  and overall school performance, which have been associated with low self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and even  suicidality .  

These “zero tolerance policies” in schools lead to children, especially Black children, being expelled, suspended, or even arrested by cops in schools. It also puts them at greater risk of being funneled into juvenile detention system, a racist phenomenon known as the school-to-prison pipeline , and is linked to  higher rates  of depression in Black males. Many of these children have learning problems and are struggling from abuse and neglect.  In other words, they need psychiatric, not punitive, measures.

The harsh punishment of Black children is  intertwined  with the phenomenon of “adultification,” the perception of Black kids as being older and more mature than they are.  Adultification  has anti-Black racist origins dating back to enslavement , and is a major contributor to Black children being not only criminalized, but also hypersexualized at an earlier age than their white peers. A 2020 Georgetown study found that Black girls as young as five and as old as 19, were viewed to be more knowledgeable about sex and less in need of nurturing and protection than their white female peers. This can lead to Black children receiving less emotional support than white children, which can in turn increase the risk of depression, stress, and suicidality.   

As Black children age into adolescence, like all children, their social and cognitive abilities increase, including  abstract reasoning .  This development enables them to be increasingly  attuned  to experiences of anti-Black racism—which, on average, they report experiencing five times a day . But, even children in the preadolescent age range, from ages nine to 12, report  increased suicidality  with experiences of anti-Black racism and more experiences of racism overall compared to non-Black youth. In young adulthood, around ages 18 of 25, experiences of anti-Black racism continues to be predictive for  depressive symptoms  and  suicidal ideations .

 The racist mutigenerational wealth gap also continues to harm Black youth and families, playing an undeniable role in the declining mental health of Black youth. (It is tied to suicidality , as well.) But poverty is not the whole story. Higher socioeconomic status was associated with  greater depressive  symptoms in Black children living in predominantly white neighborhoods compared to those living in predominantly Black areas. For white youth, greater parental education was associated with fewer depressive symptoms. In Black youth, however, the opposite was true; one 2015 study found that Black youth with highly educated parents had higher depression and higher perceived lifetime discrimination scale ratings. These findings suggest that experiences of racism outweigh the protective effects of parental education. 

Anti-Black racism is a driver of the Black youth mental health crisis, separate from socio-economic status, and solutions are urgently needed to tailor the mental health treatment of Black youth. Research funding is necessary for further studies examining the impact of anti-Black racism on child mental health throughout development. The topic remains understudied and underfunded, especially for very young children. We also need more funding for anti-Black racism-conscious mental health treatment tailored to Black youth—staffed by mental health clinicians who have expertise in providing anti-Black racism targeted care. Some organizations already exist, such as the AAKOMA Project , Therapy for Black Girls, and the National Black Child Development Institute, but there are not enough.

Standardized medical education does not teach the mental health effects of anti-Black racism, so traditionally trained psychiatrists are ill-prepared to help Black children navigate these harmful complexities. Curricula for psychiatrists that specifically deal with anti-Black racism are very limited, with only a  few published  in the literature. I was fortunate to study under one of these, the  Social Justice  Health Equity Curriculum at Yale Department of Psychiatry. The landscape is gradually changing, with an  increasing number  of medical schools working to educate students and residents about the impacts of racism.  For example, an anti-racism curriculum tailored to child psychiatry, the  first known  of its kind, was piloted at UCLA in 2021. 

But education is just the start; accountability is also necessary. Mental health clinicians cannot provide anti-Black-racism-informed care for children if they are engaging in racist behaviors themselves. Leaders of mental health institutions, like hospitals and clinics, must take an active role in ensuring that, when Black children do seek help, that their mental health is not further harmed by racism in medical care. Black children are more likely than white children to be diagnosed with  stigma-laden  disruptive mood disorders and  physically restrained  in emergency departments, so it is crucial that leaders ensure anti-racist hiring practices and reporting systems are in place to recruit and retain staff. When racist behaviors do occur, leaders need to hold mental health staff accountable, even if it means penalizing highly prized colleagues or close friends. 

The youth mental health crisis will not end until the mental health of all children stabilizes. I refuse to let Black children be left behind—and that means facing anti-Black racism head on. 

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Discrimination in School and Its Effects on Students

The vital issues in this case are; the existence and manifestation of racism in the classroom, its effect on the students, as well as their teachers. Another crucial issue is the general behavior of the students, with regard to their rude disposition.

The students are rude and discriminative. Their language, while addressing each other, is abusive and degrading. This language is used without any evidence of a justified confrontation and with lack of remorse. Words used such as ‘slow’, ‘comically stupid’ and ‘moron’ imply that the students think of themselves as more superior and use such shunning and degrading words to set themselves apart from the group they look down upon. They also shun the new boy, Roland and segregate him by not only ignoring his existence, but by also moving his desks away from their group simply because he is a black. They are also uncooperative and disunited.

This is evidenced by the length of time taken by the students to group themselves, and the reasons they cite for not wanting to belong to a certain group. When confronted about this issue, they turn on the offensive saying that the whole exercise was pointless. This is a clear indication of disrespect towards authority. They state that this is how they act with one another, implying that this was routine behavior, and they saw nothing wrong with insulting one another.

They are unhelpful and disrespectful. The students were unwilling to clean up after themselves. They felt that it was not their responsibility to clean the space they used and that it was that of a maid or a janitor. They were also extremely disrespectful to their teacher and rendered all his efforts futile.

This behavior is most likely caused by the upbringing of the students. Taking into consideration that the ages of the students are between 10 and 11 years, the most influence in their lives is from their parents.

The behavior of their parents and the language they use with their children and other people influences their speech and behavior. The reasons the students gave for not wanting to clean after themselves was that they did not do it at home. This clearly demonstrates that the home environment significantly contributes to the character of the child. The comments made by the principal indicate that the children in question are spoilt, and their actions are never questioned.

This could be a contributing factor because it creates a situation where the parents have the last word, and this discourages the disciplining of their children. The fact that parents can come to school and pick their children without being questioned creates an air of impunity.

The persistence of this behavior is due to the inaction taken by the teachers. Their role in disciplining the children should be assertive. The administration should not condone the actions of the parents. This encourages disregard of authority by both parents and students. This behavior should also be curbed at an early age, while the child’s behavior can still be molded.

The teachers should engage in activities that encourage interaction between students. This could be done through engaging activities that will allow the different students to show case their different cultures. This will encourage appreciation of different cultures. Such behavior should be highlighted and seriously punished. Any language that was discriminatory or offensive ought to be discouraged. Teachers should have a clear policy on equality and non-discrimination.

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Discrimination In Schools

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Show More The tension between the past system of education which was based on racial inequality and segregation and the current/new national system for schools which is aiming to redress past injustices in educational provision, provide an education of progressively high quality for all learners and in so doing lay a strong foundation for the development of all our people`s talents and capabilities, advance the democratic transformation of society, combat racism and sexism and all other unfair discrimination and intolerance, protect and advance our diverse cultures and languages , uphold the rights of all learners, parents and educators and promote their acceptance of responsibility for the organisation. Now with this new educational system that is where …show more content… This law prohibits discrimination between individuals, but there are certain things that are seen as segregation but they are not they are to enforce discipline and order in a school environment. Situations like drawing boundaries between an elder and a child for instance the use of toilets at schools they are separated but not to mean that there is discrimination between learners and educators but to mean that there is a sense of respect between a learner and the educator and learners need not to forget their place and the fact that they are not in the same level with their educators and learners are not hygienically cautious. Again there is a staffroom where only teachers gather or sit there, the learners are not allowed to sit there, again this is not any form of discrimination but it is to show that educators are not learners friends this will help teachers to be able to instil discipline to learners and learners to take teachers serious like their parental figure at school. According to Louw (2014:7) the education environment ought to focus on all the multidimensional aspects of the learner in which regard security should be positivized so as to ensure the optimal development of all areas of their …show more content… Create the environment that is clean, not harmful to learners, provide well maintained facilities, provide adequate resources to the learners and also involve the learners in some rules and decision making to find out how they feel by creating an environment that is conducive to learning . That means educators should protect the learners around the school to ensure that they are learning in an environment that is safe to prevent bullysm and conflict among learners. Educators are always on reach and monitoring the learners at all

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Institutional racism is defined as racism that is ingrained into the procedures and practices of schools that cause disadvantage and discrimination for ethnic minority groups. There is evidence that there is differential achievement in terms of ethnicity. This is evidenced by 79% of Chinese students achieving 5A*-C GCSE grades (including English and Maths) and 74% of Indian students achieving 5A*-C GCSE grades (including English and Maths). This compares significantly to 60% of Bangladeshi pupils achieving 5A*-C GCSE grades (including English and Maths) and 58% of white British students achieving 5A*-C GCSE grades (including English and Maths). This compares even more significantly to only 53% of Pakistani students achieve 5A*-C GCSE grades…

Discrimination In Colleges

“You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and say, ‘you are now free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.” (LBJ, 1965) Affirmative action was initially meant to compensate for the years of institutional discrimination and help equal the playing field for people of color. …….. Colleges have to meet a certain requirement of people who are a certain race or minority. Colleges also have a certain percentage of seats in the college that they can admit students in to.…

Jane Elliot: Discrimination In Schools

Jane Elliott a third grade teacher in Iowa, was trying to teach her third grade students about discrimination. She did a two-day experience where she split the entire class into two groups: blue eyes people and brown eyes people. On Tuesday she told the class that blue eyes people are better at everything and they have more privileges. Like more recess, can drink right from the fountain, may have seconds during lunch and blue eyes people can not play with brown eyes people. Towards the end of the day, brown eyes people didn’t like the blue eyes people because they where being bullies.…

Segregation In Public Schools

In 1954 the landmark Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, decided that separate was far from equal when it came to the public education system. This monumental ruling has spurred protests throughout the years as many citizens questioned its effectiveness and seriousness of purpose. Sixty years later, the decision is still being questioned as recent trends indicate that several schools across the country, especially in the inner cities, are experiencing racial resegregation. The current trend of resegregation in public schools stems from changing racial and cultural demographics as well as relaxed laws at the federal, state, and district level.…

Racial Discrimination In Education Essay

The ethnic and racial stratifications in the United States educational system have been reinforced throughout history by means of public policy on racial biases. The biases in which policies are formulated and applied, has created and expanded the achievement gap between White-Americans and minorities. These policies are not always directly targeting low-income schools, however it can be seen within the segregation of residential areas that has a direct impact on local schools. The racial and ethnic stratification of education in low-income schools is not simply the work of one factor, but a combination of sociological elements that have perpetuated these circumstances. Through intergroup relations, sociological components, and historical events constrain the…

School Violence Vs. American School

Finally, schools could create an excellent learning atmosphere for the students. For example, school violence happens so frequently that students start to concern about their physical health. The first thing for school administrators is to create a safe environment that students will not be harmed in the school. Besides, American school can introduce more cultural programs and make full use of the library resources. In the light of the performance of students, school administrators should pay attention to the curriculum resources and add more courses for the liberal arts, which promote the comprehensive development of students.…

No Child Left Behind Discrimination

This stuck out because schools always state that they don’t discriminate against disabilities. I think the author adds this detail to the book to show that everyone, including those with disabilities can and are discriminated against. This is due to No Child Left Behind, that a father complained that his daughter is one of the people who needs the most help, but are the ones being left behind.…

Affirmative Action In Schools

Affirmative action is a highly controversial topic among many people. For some, affirmative action is seen as a great set of policies that ends discrimination in the workforce and the educational system. For others though, affirmative action seems to worsen the problem it is set out to end. While the diversity and the amount of opportunities that minorities get with affirmative action does increase, reverse discrimination is very apparent. This then causes two sides where one side is reaping the benefits of affirmative action while the other side is at a disadvantage, which causes the problem affirmative action looks to fix.…

Racial Discrimination In Public Schools

However, the unique nature of educational institutions justifies the need to be race conscious when it comes to the assignment of students. It breeds tolerance and supports the development of a democratic society in the next…

Segregation In Education

Black American males experience academic disengagement within schools (Smalls et al., 2012; Chavous et al., 2008; Dotterer et al., 2009; Wong et al., 2003), which has ultimately gotten them suspended or placed into special education tracks at disproportionate rates (Morris & Perry, 2016; Gibson et al., 2014; Guy, 2014; Noguera, 2014; Davis et al., 1994; Carter & Wilson, 1992; Garibaldi, 1992; Polite, 1993). Likewise, few of these males show up in gifted tracks, Advance Placement courses, and higher education institutions (Williams & Hilton, 2015). To address the achievement gap in education, many scholars and practitioners have turned to creating a more rigorous curriculum (Palumbo et al., 2012; Gewertz, 2010). However, the more rigorous curriculum…

The Role Of Discrimination In Schools

Introduction Discrimination has often assumed many forms in the educational sphere. According to sociology, human beings tend to relates based on shared or common characteristics which define the group organizational mechanics and these strategies for grouping can be said to be discriminatory to some level (Dan, 2011). In a school set up, diversity can occur based on different factors which could include race, skin color, physical disposition and even areas of dwelling for the given students. Issues of discrimination can be addressed in this context by focusing on the parity that exists between the commuter students and the non-commuting students in relation to the availability of services provided for by the learning institution (Dan, 2011).…

Ways To Build A Non-Bully Zone In The Classroom

Rules are a number one priority to make a safe classroom. Rules and regulations should be created by the teachers that follow the school’s policy (“How to Build a Non-Bully Zone in the Classroom”). With having regulations and rules, this will create a safer environment for victims in the classroom. Excellent teachers are a second priority to a safe classroom. Teachers need to treat all of their students with respect, to show them an example of how to treat others and give instructions in a positive way (“How to Build a Non-Bully Zone in the Classroom”).…

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Essay on Gender Discrimination In Schools

Students are often asked to write an essay on Gender Discrimination In Schools in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Gender Discrimination In Schools

What is gender discrimination.

Gender discrimination in schools means treating someone unfairly just because they are a boy or a girl. This can happen when boys and girls are not given the same chances, like when only boys are encouraged to play certain sports or when girls are told they can’t be good at math.

Examples in the Classroom

In class, teachers might call on boys more often to answer questions, thinking they are more confident. Girls might be praised for being neat, while boys are celebrated for being smart. This makes it seem like boys and girls are good at different things by nature.

Effects on Students

When kids face gender discrimination, it can make them less confident and stop them from trying new things. A girl might never discover she’s an amazing scientist if she’s told science is “for boys.” This limits what kids believe they can achieve in the future.

Fighting Gender Discrimination

Schools can help by making sure boys and girls are treated equally. Teachers can encourage all students to try everything, from sports to science. Schools can also have rules that do not allow any unfair treatment based on whether someone is a boy or a girl.

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250 Words Essay on Gender Discrimination In Schools

What is gender discrimination.

Gender discrimination means treating someone unfairly just because they are a boy or a girl. This is not right and can make people feel very sad or left out. In schools, this happens when teachers or students think that boys should do certain things and girls should do others, just because of their gender.

Examples in Schools

In some schools, boys might be pushed to play sports while girls are told to focus on arts or helping others. Sometimes, girls are not asked to answer hard math or science questions because some people wrongly believe these subjects are not for them. This is unfair and stops kids from learning what they are truly good at.

Why It’s a Problem

When kids face gender discrimination, they might start to believe they can’t do well in some subjects or activities. This can make them less confident and stop them from trying new things. It’s important for schools to give all kids the same chances so they can find what they love and are good at.

Stopping Gender Discrimination

Schools can stop this by teaching kids that all subjects and activities are for everyone. Teachers should encourage all students to try everything and praise them when they do well, no matter if they are a boy or a girl. Schools should also have rules that do not allow anyone to treat others unfairly because of their gender.

In conclusion, gender discrimination in schools can stop students from being their best. Schools must work hard to make sure every student gets the same opportunities to learn and grow.

School Essays, Comprehension And Letters For Students

Packed in 152 Informative Pages

500 Words Essay on Gender Discrimination In Schools

Understanding gender discrimination.

Gender discrimination in schools is when boys and girls are treated differently and unfairly because of their gender. This can happen in many ways, like not letting girls play certain sports or saying that boys can’t like certain colors. It’s important to know that everyone, no matter if they are a boy or a girl, deserves to be treated with respect and have the same chances at school.

In some classrooms, teachers might call on boys more often to answer questions, even if girls raise their hands too. Sometimes, teachers might expect boys to be better at math and science, while thinking that girls should be better at reading and writing. This is not fair because all students should have the chance to show what they know and love, no matter what subject it is.

Gender Roles and Activities

Schools often have different activities for boys and girls, like sports or clubs. For example, it might be thought that only boys should play football or that only girls should do dance. This is not right because everyone should be able to choose what they like to do without being judged or limited by their gender.

When students face gender discrimination, they can feel sad, angry, or even confused about why they are being treated differently. They might start to believe that they can’t do certain things just because of their gender, which can make them less confident. It’s important for schools to help all students believe in themselves and their abilities.

What Schools Can Do

Schools can do a lot to stop gender discrimination. They can teach students about why it’s important to treat everyone equally. Teachers can make sure they are giving boys and girls the same chances in class. Schools can also offer all kinds of sports and clubs, so every student can find something they like.

Gender discrimination in schools is a big problem that can make students feel bad and stop them from doing what they love. It’s important for everyone in school to work together to make sure all students are treated fairly. This way, every student can learn and grow without being held back by unfair ideas about what boys and girls can or cannot do.

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Wisconsin public schools held to higher standards than choice or voucher ones | Opinion

Establishing two school systems — one public and one private, yet both supported with tax dollars — only expands the ability of private schools to pick and choose the most desirable students.

Supporters of Wisconsin’s voucher schools make it seem that the schools are just one of many variations of our public schools . Don’t be fooled.

Voucher schools, often referred to as “choice” schools, are private schools that receive taxpayer money that pays for tuition. To argue that a private school is “public” merely because it receives public tax dollars is like arguing that Metro Mart is a public grocery store because it accepts food stamps.

Some 383 voucher schools will receive an estimated $574 million in taxpayer money in the 2023-24 school year — more than half a billion dollars. Even when a voucher school does not have a single student paying private tuition, the school is legally defined as private. Therein is the heart of the problem.

Public schools held to higher standards of transparency

Here are a few of the differences:

• Public schools in Wisconsin are prohibited from discriminating against students on the basis of sex, pregnancy, marital or parental status or sexual orientation. Private voucher schools are allowed to circumvent these anti-discrimination measures.

• Public schools must honor constitutional rights of free speech and association, and due process when a student is suspended or expelled. Private voucher schools do not.

• Public schools must follow Wisconsin’s open meetings and record laws. Private voucher schools do not. Public schools are controlled by publicly elected school boards. Private voucher schools are not. Wisconsin school board meetings are open to the public. Private school board meetings are not.

The list could go on.

More: Parental choice programs more popular than ever. Bi-partisan effort cements their future.

The problems are particularly acute when tax dollars are used to subsidize religious education at voucher schools — and 95% of voucher schools are religious. Take the example of what happened to two female students in 2022 at Fox Valley Lutheran High School .

The two students were called into the dean’s office a few months before graduation, according to an investigative report last May by Wisconsin Watch, a non-profit, nonpartisan investigative news organization. One student was the cheerleading captain, the other a basketball player, homecoming queen and student council member. In separate meetings, the two were told they faced expulsion because it was suspected that the two women were dating each other. The school’s handbook, it was made clear, prohibits any “homosexual behavior,” on or off campus.

The cheerleading captain told Wisconsin Watch that the dean said they could graduate — on the condition they break up and speak to a pastor. The dean, meanwhile, “outed” the students to their parents.

In 2019, Sheboygan Lutheran High School canceled the valedictorian speech of Nat Werth after he came out as gay. According to Werth, the school’s handbook was subsequently expanded to include anti-transgender policies. 

Wisconsin taxpayers forced to fund anti-LGBTQ bigotry

Wisconsin has long been in the forefront of protecting LGBTQ students and employees, and in 1982 it became the first state to ban discrimination in public and private sector employment on the basis of sexual orientation. Yet today, because of public funding of private religious schools, Wisconsin taxpayers are being forced to fund discrimination .

Special education is another area where there are disturbing differences between public schools and private voucher schools. Public schools must adhere to all federal special education laws and regulations. Not so for private voucher schools.

An official from Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI), which oversees the voucher programs, told Wisconsin Watch that the DPI was “fully committed” to ensuring nondiscrimination of students with disabilities, but did not believe it had the authority to require the private schools to adhere to these federal requirements.

“DPI has significant concerns about the DPI’s authority to ensure that Choice schools do not discriminate against students with disabilities,” the agency’s chief legal counsel wrote in a letter.

Nicholas Kelly, president of  the voucher organization School Choice Wisconsin , disputed the allegations of discrimination and sent a letter to Wisconsin Watch that read, in part: “Fundamentally, parental choice and educational freedom provide accountability. If parents or students are not satisfied with the education they receive they can choose another school.”

School voucher program was originally designed to sunset

In 1990, the Wisconsin Legislature passed the state’s first voucher program, targeting a handful of non-religious private schools in Milwaukee and limited to low-income students. The program was designed as a five-year experiment, but then-Gov. Tommy Thompson vetoed the sunset clause. In the last three decades, the Republican-controlled state legislature has slowly but surely expanded the program throughout the state.

Other views. School choice triumph: Report card analysis shows voucher schools out-perform public schools

Wisconsin does not have a magic machine printing dollar bills. For every dollar that goes to a private voucher school, that money is unavailable for funding and improving our public schools. Yet throughout Wisconsin, our public schools remain the only educational institution both capable of, and committed to, serving the needs of all children.

I do not fault parents for doing what they think is best for their child and sending them to a private school. But when it comes to public policy, there is a responsibility to go beyond individual concerns and promote what is best for all children. Establishing two school systems — one public and one private, yet both supported with tax dollars —only expands the ability of private schools to pick and choose the most desirable students and only widens the gap between the haves and have-nots.

Nor should the public be forced to subsidize educational programs that promote specific religious beliefs that might be antagonistic to their own religious views. Religion is a profoundly private matter and should remain that way.

Gus Ramirez, whose family foundation runs the St. Augustine Prep voucher school in Milwaukee and plans to open another school at the former Cardinal Stritch University, is quite clear that the school serves a select student body and promotes conservative religious beliefs.

“We hold firm to the biblical description of family at this school,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in August. “That doesn't mean all teachers and all staff are part of a nuclear family, but we strongly believe that nuclear family generates a lot better student outcomes ... Some will say that we're too conservative, but for the most part our teachings are just aligned with Scripture.”

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, was a state representative at the time when vouchers first passed the legislature, and voted for the program because it was small, secular and experimental. “Of course, this is a vote I deeply regret,” she later said. “I never was the kind of voucher person who wanted to destroy public education.”

Bob Peterson was member of the Milwaukee School Board from 2019-2023, and board president for the final two years. He was also a classroom teacher for more 25 years, and president of the Milwaukee teachers’ union from 2011-2015.

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EEOC Wins Summary Judgment Against Urbana School District No. 116 in Age Discrimination Case

CHICAGO – A federal judge ruled in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on November 7, 2023 that Urbana School District No. 116 in Illinois violated federal law by applying a discrim­inatory provision of a collective bargaining agreement to limit the compensation of teachers age 45 and older.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the Urbana school district limited the salary increases of Charles Koplinski and a group of other teachers over 45 via a provision of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the school district and the union representing teachers, Urbana Education Association IEA-NEA. The Illinois state pension code provides that if a teacher’s final average salary includes a year in which the teacher received a salary increase of more than 6%, the school district must contribute to the Teacher’s Retirement System (TRS) to cover the increased pension cost attributable to the salary increase. The EEOC’s lawsuit challenged a provision of the CBA agreement limiting the salary increases of teachers who are within 10 years of retirement eligibility to no more than 6% above their previous year’s salary.

Koplinski, 52, completed post-graduate classes which should have entitled to him to receive more than a 6% raise for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years. Because Koplinski’s age at the time put him within 10 years of retirement eligibility, the school district capped his raise at 6% for both school years.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination because of age against individuals who are age 40 or over, including discrimination with respect to compensation. 

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Urbana Division (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Urbana School District No. 116 and Urbana Education Association, IEA-NEA; Civil Action No. 18-cv-02212) on Aug. 10, 2018, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through the EEOC’s conciliation process.

Agreeing with the EEOC, the federal judge ruled that the CBA provision limiting salary increases was facially discriminatory based on age because it drew “an express line” between teachers age 45 and older and those under 45 in this way: teachers under 45 were able to receive salary increases that teachers age 45 and older could not, solely because of their age. The judge also ordered the school district to furnish $51,093 in undisputed back pay situations for teachers whose compensation was limited by the CBA provision.

In addition to the back pay already ordered by the court, the EEOC will continue to seek additional disputed lost wages in further court proceedings.

“The impact of the provision limiting salary increases is that many teachers like Mr. Koplinski had lower raises than they could have earned through obtaining education credits,” said Diane Smason, acting district director of the EEOC’s Chicago District. “In addition, some teachers who performed extra duties were paid less than they should have been, and others were told they could not perform extra duties at all because they would hit the salary increase cap. None of that would have happened if those teachers were younger than 45.”

EEOC Regional Attorney for the Chicago District Office Gregory Gochanour said, “Determining compensation based on age violates the ADEA. It does not matter that the school district claims it was trying to limit contributions to TRS. This case should be a message to school districts in Illinois that they cannot attempt to minimize their contributions to TRS by limiting the compensation of older teachers based on their age.”

For more information on age discrimination, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/age-discrimination .

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov . Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates .

Vermont Christian school sues state after ban from state athletics following trans athlete protest

essay on discrimination in schools

A private religious school in Vermont that was banned from participating in all state-run athletics this year after refusing to play against a team with a trans-gender player has sued the state for religious discrimination.

The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit last week on behalf of the Mid Vermont Christian School in Quechee, Vermont alleging the state banned the students from state tournaments and a state tuition program because of their religious beliefs.

Team forfeited game against team with transgender player

In February, the school's girls basketball team forfeited a game against Long Trail School , who had a transgender student on their roster, the Burlington Free Press reported.

In a statement at the time, MCVS head coach Vicky Fogg said "we believe playing against an opponent with a biological male jeopardizes the fairness of the game and the safety of our players.” 

The Vermont Principals' Association, which oversees school-based athletic and academic competitions across the state, then voted to revoke the school's membership. The Association said the school violated the association's policy on gender identity which includes prohibition of discrimination "based on a student's actual or perceived sex and gender." 

More: Oklahoma board approves nation's first state-funded Catholic school

State board stops school's tuition program membership

In a press release , Alliance Defending Freedom also said the Vermont State Board of Education also discriminated against the school based on their religious beliefs.

The government agency in May 2022 set rules under the Vermont Public Accommodations Act and Fair Employment Practices Act barring private or independent schools that take taxpayer money from discriminating against students based on their sexual orientation.

According to the lawsuit, families that wanted to send their children to the school were denied a taxpayer-funded voucher. Families living in towns that don't have public schools are eligible for these vouchers to send their kids to nearby public, private, or independent school.

Tuition: Supreme Court to decide if religious schools may receive taxpayer funding 

Alliance Defending Freedom said the Mid Vermont Christian School asked for a religious exemption because the rule would "require Mid Vermont Christian to violate its beliefs by allowing males into female bathrooms and locker rooms, changing its policies regarding biblical marriage and dress codes, hiring those who do not share and live out its religious beliefs, using pronouns that are inconsistent with reality, and more."

As a result Mid Vermont Christian School was not approved for the program.

According to the lawsuit, two school boards that had sent checks for tuition on behalf of students attending the Christian school in September asked for the funds back the following month after learning the school was not approved as an independent school under the program.

Supreme Court: Schools offering religious instruction may be entitled to state tuition aid

Experts say Supreme Court's Maine ruling not comparable here

In their lawsuit, Alliance Defending Freedom cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from on a similar tuition aid program in Maine. Last June, the high court ruled that the state couldn't prohibit the use of  public money to attend schools that offer religious instruction.

However, constitutional experts told local outlet WCAX that the two cases aren't exactly the same.

 “I think the state is going to have a stronger footing if it’s making funding decisions based not on religion but on rules that say we aren’t going to fund institutions that discriminate based on gender, sexual orientation, etc.,” Jared Carter of the Vermont Law & Graduate School told the WCAX.

Plaintiff in NYU law review discrimination case may remain anonymous

A sweatshirt and pennant are seen inside the bookstore at New York University in New York

A sweatshirt and pennant are seen inside the bookstore at New York University in New York, October 21, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Nov 24 (Reuters) - A white, heterosexual, male law student who sued New York University claiming that its law school's flagship law review gives preference to women and minorities in violation of U.S. law may proceed with his case anonymously, at least for now, a Manhattan federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero did not explain his reasoning in his Tuesday order , but noted that NYU may seek to disclose the plaintiff's identity once the case is assigned to a judge.

The plaintiff — listed as John Doe in court papers — is in his first year at the NYU School of Law and intends to apply for a spot on the NYU Law Review in the summer of 2024, according to his October lawsuit .

Law review posts are prestigious positions that can help law students land jobs.

Doe is being represented by America First Legal — an organization headed by Stephen Miller, who had been an adviser to Republican former President Donald Trump. The plaintiff’s Nov. 14 motion asking to proceed under a pseudonym is sealed and lead attorney Ronald Berutti did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday on why his client seeks to remain anonymous.

A spokesperson for NYU Law, which has not yet filed its response to Doe’s complaint, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Doe’s complaint claims that NYU Law Review's selection policies for student editors and other staffers violate Title VI and Title IX, which prohibit racial and sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal funds, by making diversity a “prime consideration.”

The lawsuit marks the second time the NYU Law Review has been the target of litigation over its diversity policies in recent years. A different group run by conservative lawyer Jonathan Mitchell unsuccessfully sued it and the Harvard Law Review in 2018.

Doe’s suit is the first legal challenge to law review diversity policies following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision that prohibited race-conscious college and university admissions.

The case is John Doe v. New York University, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 1:23-mc-00398.

For Doe: Ronald A. Berutti of Murray-Nolan Berutti LLC

Conservative group sues NYU, claiming selection of law journal student staff discriminates

Conservative legal group threatens to sue law schools over racial preferences

Get the latest legal news of the day delivered straight to your inbox with The Afternoon Docket .

Reporting by Karen Sloan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

essay on discrimination in schools

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Karen Sloan reports on law firms, law schools, and the business of law. Reach her at [email protected]

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    socio-economic status, the potential for discrimination in schools is significant. oth urban and B rural schools maintain detailed records of students' caste and religiontheir , along with other demographic information such as their age, gender, and various information on their parents (see, for exampleHe, Linden, and MacLeod, 2008).

  11. Essays About Discrimination: Top 5 Examples and 8 Prompts

    1. Essay On Discrimination For Students In Easy Words by Prateek "In the current education system, the condition of education and its promotion of equality is very important. The education system should be a good place for each and every student. It must be on the basis of equal opportunities for each student in every country.

  12. Discrimination In Schools Essay

    Very short, yet formal complaints Discrimination by Executive Principal, and staff, of a MNPS High School, and through lack of oversite and/or flawed procedures, MNPS.

  13. Racism And Discrimination In School

    Racism And Discrimination In School. Improved Essays. 727 Words. 3 Pages. Open Document. Essay Sample Check Writing Quality. Check Writing Quality. "No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate from young age , and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught ...

  14. Racial Discrimination and Justice in Education Essay

    Updated: Nov 25th, 2023 The Impact of Racism in Schools and on the Mental Health of Students Funding is one of the main factors that ensure racial segregation and exacerbation of the plight of the black population. Being initially in a more disastrous economic situation, racial minority populations fall into a vicious circle.

  15. Argumentative Essay on Racism in Schools

    5057 Some people seem to think racism in schools died out a long time ago. This statement couldn't be more wrong. Racism in the learning environment is more evident than ever, and it needs to be stopped because it affects the way students learn and their success.

  16. Ending Discriminatory Hair Policies in Schools

    For the last two years, educators all over the country have expressed an interest in creating schools that are genuinely inclusive. We recognize that students who experience a sense of belonging at school have greater levels of emotional wellness and academic achievement. Yet, as of today, a search for hair discrimination in schools results in more than 30 million hits.

  17. Reflective Essay: Discrimination In The Classroom

    761 Words 4 Pages Open Document Essay Sample Check Writing Quality Show More I thought I was immune to discrimination. I don't understand how that philosophy can come to fruition in any person of colors' mind. I was always discriminated against, but I was too young or too naive to pay attention.

  18. How Racism Affects the Mental Health of Black Youth

    The truth is that the effects of racism on the mental health of Black Americans start even before birth. The stress of racism experienced by Black mothers has been linked to low birthweight babies ...

  19. Essay On Discrimination In Education

    Essay On Discrimination In Education 2187 Words9 Pages Introduction The constitution of India grants and guarantees to us certain fundamental rights which include the right to equality. Article 14 of the Indian constitution states that no person shall be denied equality or equal protection before the law.

  20. Discrimination in School and Its Effects on Students

    StudyCorgi Education Discrimination in School and Its Effects on Students Topics: Discrimination, School, Students Words: 570 Pages: 2 The vital issues in this case are; the existence and manifestation of racism in the classroom, its effect on the students, as well as their teachers.

  21. Essay on Discrimination in Publich Schools

    Essay on Discrimination in Publich Schools Better Essays 1596 Words 7 Pages 6 Works Cited Open Document As long as the school system has been in existence, there have been many cases of discrimination in one form or another. Blocked opportunities for students of a certain race and or in a lower socio-economic group have always existed.

  22. Discrimination Essay

    Discrimination Essay: According to the Oxford dictionary, discrimination is the practice of treating an individual or a particular group in society unfairly than others based on age, race, sex, religion, finance, etc. Throughout history, we have seen discrimination tainting every society and nation.

  23. Discrimination In Schools

    In the article "How Young Children of Immigrants Face Discrimination at School" (2015) by Janie T. Carnock, the author argues that young children of immigrants encounter discrimination at school, and young children are easily influenced in the early grades; they are discriminated by staff and students who are in the same age with them.…

  24. Essay on Gender Discrimination In Schools for Students

    Essay on Gender Discrimination In Schools November 13, 2023 Students are often asked to write an essay on Gender Discrimination In Schools in their schools and colleges. And if you're also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic. Let's take a look…

  25. Wisconsin public schools can't discriminate against LGBTQ students

    School voucher program was originally designed to sunset. In 1990, the Wisconsin Legislature passed the state's first voucher program, targeting a handful of non-religious private schools in ...

  26. EEOC Wins Summary Judgment Against Urbana School District No. 116 in

    CHICAGO - A federal judge ruled in favor of the U.S. CHICAGO - A federal judge ruled in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on November 7, 2023 that Urbana School District No. 116 in Illinois violated federal law by applying a discrim­inatory provision of a collective bargaining agreement to limit the compensation of teachers age 45 and older.

  27. Vermont Christian school: Trans athlete protest led to discrimination

    1:18. A private religious school in Vermont that was banned from participating in all state-run athletics this year after refusing to play against a team with a trans-gender player has sued the ...

  28. Plaintiff in NYU law review discrimination case may remain anonymous

    The plaintiff — listed as John Doe in court papers — is in his first year at the NYU School of Law and intends to apply for a spot on the NYU Law Review in the summer of 2024, according to his ...