Monday, February 4, 2008

Achieving real integration

Desegregation is not integration when SES factors play a critical role in the social stratification of schools. A completely heterogeneous school is not entirely possible since access to resources, as a result of SES, will inadvertently influence the students’ core educational foundation. Students of dissimilar SES backgrounds will be exposed to different experiences, whether cultural, or ideological, that will color their interest and the identities they develop. Whom students choose to affiliate themselves with will vary as a reflection of their interests, identities, and academic talents. Ultimately, the establishment of stratified and segregated micro communities becomes inevitable within the “integrated” school.

Secondly, desegregation as a means of access to new resources does not entirely equate to adaptation and achievement. It is only a part of the equation. Human capital without cultural capital cannot necessarily be perceived as a complete formula to anything. All the resources possible may be available but without the right circumstance, knowledge, and motivation, the student will not succeed. The problem of low achievement is present not just as a consequent of financial and racial inequalities; rather it varies based on SES, ethnicity, and geographic location. In the end, perhaps it is not the students we should be focused on integrating but rather the parents, teachers, and school administrators.


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