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Education for African Americans

The struggle for education and what it has become to this were quite different from one another. The way that education was provided post-slavery is quite different from what we have seen recently, but the evolution and how that came to be a grueling process that took a lot of resilience and will (African Americans and Education During Reconstruction: The Tolsonâs Chapel Schools (U.S. National Park Service)). As such, educating the next generation should be a priority in the twenty-first century since it will be required of them as full citizens of the United States in an increasingly globalized and technologically advanced world. As a result, many African American students are being left behind in under-resourced urban schools. Education is often seen as a way to access social resources because of its prominence as a critical social institution. Some believe that educational attainment effectively alleviates social imbalances by making up for historical wrongs and addressing current social inequity (Elson, 2021). To others, educational institutions are seen as an attempt to maintain the existing quo by establishing new social divides. The educational system has been a considerable bias, regardless of whether it is increasing or decreasing inequality in society. African Americans faced much adversity and issues for education in which made the progression for the level of education that African Americans can receive today exceedingly difficult to each, and especially during post-slavery.

For the vast majority of people in the United States, the idea of a meritocratic society is aspirational rather than an actual reality (Elson, 2021). The development of the American public school system was driven in part by a belief in meritocracy, which was supposed to promote social equality by providing equal access to education (Johns & Jones-Castro, 2016). Public school enrollment has been limited to White male students for many years. Black students were prohibited from attending school during this period. Teaching Black students to read and write was against the law at the time. Black students could not attend White schools even after the Civil War, despite removing these regulations. Black schools were founded to maintain racial segregation. Due to economic and societal constraints, Black individuals could not attend school, despite their desire to do so. In Brown v. Board of Education, Supreme Court, the case and the integration of the school system proved that a dual-segregated school system was illegal in 1954. As a result of this monumental shift in American education, the educational opportunities for African Americans started to change. Desegregation did not make things perfect, but it allowed African Americans to attend the same schools as White students and obtain the same education.

Having access to a well-rounded, high-quality education is a fundamental human right. After integrating the public school system in the United States, the achievement disparity between Black and White students was brought to light (Grimshaw, 2016). Since the end of formal segregation in 1970 and subsequent attempts to equalize funding, student performance has significantly improved. In research from United Negro College Fund (2020) between 1970 and 1990, the gap between Black and White students’ test results was reduced significantly on all significant national tests, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). According to data from six major national polls, the average African American student performs worse than 75% of American White children. Despite this, minority kids’ educational experiences have remained distinct and unequal. As shown by several studies (United Negro College Fund, 2020), children in underprivileged neighborhoods are getting a subpar education compared to their peers in more affluent city areas. Poverty, big class sizes, and not enough qualified teachers all play a role in how well African Americans and Whites do in school.

Many factors influence a student’s educational success, including their family’s socioeconomic condition and financial resources. Racial, ethnic, and gender identities, as well as other markers of socioeconomic status, all play a role. There are many easy and simple ways to show the demographics of a neighborhood, school, and the socioeconomic status of parents in educational system reports (United Negro College Fund, 2020). There is still a great deal of economic hardship in our nation’s inner cities. In research from United Negro College Fund (2020) found that districts with more financial resources spend 56% more per student than districts with lower levels of educational attainment. These children’s lives are not conducive to a high-quality education. In addition to the higher average poverty rate, many people in inner cities have few job possibilities, restricted access to high-quality schools and affordable health care, and a lack of effective early childhood education and childcare facilities (United Negro College Fund, 2020). According to new research from Texas, Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, and Alabama, schools with a higher proportion of children of color had less money and resources than schools with a higher proportion of children of White (United Negro College Fund, 2020).

When children attend smaller schools, have fewer classes, and are taught by highly competent instructors, they are more likely to succeed academically. Students of color are far less likely than their White counterparts to access these kinds of tools. Most African American children attend mostly minority schools, which are twice as big as predominantly White schools. These low-income schools have a problem with class size, which has been recognized. Class sizes at these schools are larger than those at schools for students in the upper and middle classes. Large class sizes, low reading levels, and poor math scores have been shown to have a significant association (United Negro College Fund, 2020). Study after study has linked lower class size to enhanced reading abilities and increased student accomplishment for African Americans. Longitudinal research shows that lowering class size improves students’ reading and math results (United Negro College Fund, 2020). It was found that class size was a better predictor of how well students did than having extra teaching assistants.

Over the last several years, there has been a noticeable increase in the educational performance of Black children. For example, dropout rates have started to fall, and studies funded by the US Department of Education have shown an increase in primary school students’ reading proficiency. Closing the achievement gap among African Americans means that they need to improve their reading and basic academic skills. The increasing number of Black students applying to colleges and universities has sparked discussion about higher education’s racial disparities. Few Black students went to college prior to the 21st century. Only a small fraction graduated or earned a professional degree from those who did. For the first time in history, African Americans are more likely to start and finish their college degrees at four-year institutions. When it comes to getting into and staying in college, African American students confront many challenges. Many African American students do not know much about college, do not have much support from their families, and do not have much money before college (Elson, 2021). As a result of these impediments, it is more difficult for African Americans to excel and graduate from college. The issue of diversity commitment, pre-college life and family, low aspirations, poor literacy, financial restrictions, systemic racism, and Institutional culture are some of the challenges that African Americans encounter in college. This means that African American students cannot fully enjoy college life because of these problems.

African American children make up 98 percent of all public-school students. With the right resources and support, the public school system can provide American children with the education they need to keep the United States as its preeminent democracy and economic superpower. Public schools accept and hold teachers and administrators accountable for all of their students. Sadly, only a minority of public schools in the United States achieve their full potential. White, well-off suburban public schools do better than their Black and underfunded peers. This educational discrepancy is evident now. Even though African Americans are no longer enslaved, they are nonetheless undereducated. If evaluations are related to high standards, then the country must spend to achieve outcomes, as our colleagues in Congress must realize. There must be a significant amount of money invested in after-school activities, summer assistance, and teacher professional development to maintain small classrooms and high-quality instructors. There is no guarantee that high-quality instructors will flock to our schools in an increasingly competitive job market. They have alternatives. Investing in high-quality teachers in the most challenging schools should be a top priority for state finances. As soon as we do this, we will start to see changes in our social structure.


African Americans and Education During Reconstruction: The Tolsonâs Chapel Schools (U.S. National Park Service). (2022). National Park Service.

Elson, R. (2021). Education. The Library Company of Philadelphia.

Grimshaw, A. (2016, September 30). Louisville, Kentucky: A Reflection on School Integration. The Century Foundation.

Johns, D., & Jones-Castro, A. (2016, July 15). Editorial: Education is the Civil Right. NBC News.

United Negro College Fund. (2020, March 20). K-12 Disparity Facts and Statistics. UNCF.


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