My Educational Experience: The Challenges Of Diversity In Public Education

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Growing up a Caucasian, upper middle-class child in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I remember experiencing a sense of perplexity every time I visited my neighborhood grocery store. While one side of the store served a demographic population similar to my own, the other side catered to the low-income, predominately African American population located in the adjacent neighborhood. My grocery store represented the diversity of my city, causing me to question why such diversity did not exist in my educational experience. My parents, like many financially able families in my area, sent me to a private college preparatory school to avoid the failing school system in East Baton Rouge Parish. While my school’s white population totaled eighty percent, Caucasian children represented the minority group in my neighborhood public school. As …show more content…
I entered the classroom with the naive notion that all challenges to public education in property poor districts stemmed from challenges relating to segregation and funding. School funding certainly represents an obstacle to public education, but no amount of funding will prove adequate in closing the opportunity gap and fostering long-term school improvement until parents, schools, and business leaders stand in solidarity against poverty. At IDEA, I noticed a common trend among students who most successfully capitalized on the opportunities the schools offered. Many of these students had attended Head Start or similar programs that not only promoted educational attainment among low-income children, but also empowered community members by offering a variety of free classes such as finance, community organizing and parenting. While IDEA attempted to restore agency to students through college preparatory programs, I found Head Start affected more long-term change simply because of its focus on uniting community members under a common

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