Equity in education is necessary for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and age to succeed. However, educational equity does not exist in today’s society. Since the 1980s, socioeconomic segregation for black students in schools has been increasing, contributing to inequity for these students (Orfield). I am researching how opportunity gaps for black students can be eliminated to help make education more equitable and the factors that contribute to postsecondary success. These are very important topics to research because although public schools are supposed to be integrated and equitable for all students regardless of race, this isn’t always the case. In fact, race is linked to forms of inequality in all aspects of education like expectations, opportunities, treatment of students, and “the level of concentrated poverty in a school” (Orfield). In Pittsburgh, we see a relationship between the number of highly qualified teachers, achievement scores, and the schools’ racial composition- demonstrating how Pittsburgh’s public schools are not equitable for black students.
So far, I have mainly worked with University of Pittsburgh professors Dr. Osai and Dr. Campbell, and education policy consultant Dr. Brennan. I plan to communicate the findings of my research to a broader audience by creating a brochure for the Pittsburgh community and Pittsburgh schools informing them about educational equity and the role that Justice Scholars Institute plays in bridging opportunity gaps for black students. If the community knows more about educational inequity in Pittsburgh Public Schools, then parents and other community members will be more willing to get involved and help make a change in their schools so their children can receive a holistic high-quality education at the school in their neighborhood. When communicating my research, it is important to emphasize that the community, including parents and families, does indeed have a great impact on the quality of education of its neighborhood and that you can certainly advocate for what you want to see change in your school district.
In my immediate post undergraduate life, I hope to expand upon what I learn about how race is linked to educational equity and college accessibility and explore how race is related to access to quality health care. Through my role as a nurse, I want to help make health care more accessible to all people regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender identity, religion, etc. I also hope to examine the relationship between healthcare and education in the near future.
Orfield, G., & Lee, C. (2005). (rep.). Why Segregation Matters: Poverty and Educational Inequality. Harvard Education Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED489186