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Jeremy Pulumbarit

English 1T
Essay 1
Due: 02/4/15

The Blueprint for Equal Education

A pbs.org article written in 2014 by Kimberly Hefling found, “Minority
students are less likely to have access to advanced math and science classes
and veteran teachers.” The data of Annie E. Casey Foundation displayed that
91% of White kindergarteners graduated high school compared to the 8752% of minority groups: Hispanic, African-American, and Native American.
Discrimination and segregation cause lack of resources and inexperienced
teachers being given to minority students. The underwhelming number of
minority is due to the schools’ unequal education policies.
People need to be united in their fight for equal education. Over the
course of American history, there have been many instances when the
community stepped in to dispute against unequal education. Edward James
Olmos’ film, Walk Out, depicted the famous East L.A. student walkouts.
Mexican-American students were treated poorly in the school system and
they decided to protest against their schools. Maria Blanco’s text, “Before
Brown, There was Mendez” and Richard R. Valencia’s “The Mexican American
Struggle for Equal Education Opportunity” reflected on the hardships and
struggles in the Mendez v. Westminster case. Mexican-American children
weren’t allowed to attend “White” schools on the basis of their race. The
young students were the initiators in these cases and families and
community would support them in their quest for equal education. As history

has presented, it takes more than one voice to start a movement. Students
need to become aware and learn from their history and environment to truly
develop into an activist.
If the school systems were to let students openly voice their thoughts
and opinions then educational inequality would no longer exist. Once schools
start listening more to the student voice, true democracy can be achieved.
Edward James Olmos –an award winning actor—directed the 2006 film Walk
Out, which is based on the 1960-70s East Los Angeles high school walkouts.
Faculty members refused to listen to the Mexican-American students and
that resulted in student protests. The film replicated the East L.A. students
walking out of their high schools to grab to attention of their schools and the
media. Paula Crisostomo, a student active in the walkouts, said, “Collectively
we had a strong voice and it gave us a power that we didn’t realize we had
before.” Student-lead activism can change society tremendously. A person is
never too young or old to be a strong supporter for what they believe in.
From my perspective as a student, the actions they took changed school
societies in America. I was glad to see the students gather together and
support their cause. In today’s society, students should be able to speak
through their student government.
Some students end up failing in school because the education system
fails to provide the necessary resources for students to thrive. As a result of
the lack of resources, students fall behind in their studies. This equality
problem focuses on the families that can’t afford the expensive tutors and

books. Blanco – former executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil
Rights—stated in her text, “a practice of placing non-English speaking
children in schools until they acquired proficiency in English. During the time
period of the Mendez v. Westminster case, Mexican students were allowed to
attend White schools. Even though many Mexican-Americans spoke fluent
English, the schools were still able to turn them down because of their race.
Segregation led to students becoming agitated and aware of the unequal
treatment they were receiving. If school systems stop segregating students
and provide equal access to resources, then students will have an equal
chance at a successful future.
Discrimination is the root of unequal education. Although great
breakthroughs have been accomplished like Brown v. Board of Education,
there are still people who look down on colored people. Professor of
Educational Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin, Richard
Valencia, reported, “Latino and African American students combined
constitute 33.6% of the public K-12 school population.” The Brown v. Board of
Education occurred because the school wouldn’t let students of African
descent into some schools. The schools segregated colored students just
because of their race. Why deny one-third of the population a proper
education? Today’s students are the future of America, so why not give them
a legitimate educational chance? Discrimination in the classroom can be
stopped if the schools properly educate children at a young age. It requires
quality teachers talking to young children about their society.

The quality of a teacher can affect the treatment of equality in a
classroom. Some teachers aren’t willing to explain the material to the
students because they expect the student to learn right away. A poor teacher
will play favorites in the classroom and give up on the students who are
having a hard time learning. The Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of
Psychology at Stanford University, Carol Dweck, stated in her text, Mind-Sets
and Equitable Education, “He found that when teachers had a fixed mind-set,
the students who had entered their class as low achievers left as low
achievers at the end of the year.” If schools were to properly screen and
interview the teachers, equality would be easy in the classroom. Students
should be allowed to make a review on their professors at the end of each
quarter. This would allow for student to find quality teachers and teachers to
become better.
Gathering large group of young students is the best way to beat
inequality in education. The youth are risk takers and willing to put their
mind and bodies on the line in order to complete their goal. Young students
bring fresh ideas and energy to the fight against inequality. In the film Walk
Out, Sal Castro and Paula Crisostomo inspired other students to stand up
against their school system for being treated as “second-class citizens!” A
second-class citizen is a person belonging to a social or political group whose
rights and opportunities are inferior to those of the dominant group in a
society. The schools were treating Mexican-American students crudely. The
students, who lead the walkouts, organized fellow believers and planned

their ideas precisely. Students are the future of this country, so they should
be guided and treated well.
The lessons from the past have set the blueprint to make a better
future for education. Student-led activism can improve schools for equal
education. Resources need to be provided to students and distributed
equally to those who need it. Student collaboration and teachers being
supportive are essential in the agency for the fight against educational
inequality. It takes more than one person to start a movement. Students
need to organize their peers and learn from their history and society to turn
into a successful activist.