Academic Achievement Gap, How Income, Race, and Parents Come Into Play?

Growing up many of you have incredulous amounts of resources that help you become academically successful. That being said there are also many people who don’t have those same resources and are not as successful. Academic achievement gap has been an issue that has existed for a very long time. There are many factors that play into this gap, those being their families income, race, and their parents education history all contribute to the achievement gap.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Black students are more than three times as likely to attend schools where fewer than 60 percent of teachers meet all state certification and licensure requirements.” Although this snapshot says Black students have teachers with less qualifications it is not just Black students but students of color who have the same issue. Part of this issue has to do with their families income. Income is one of the factors because where you live has to do with what your family can afford to pay. Low income families live in low income neighborhoods and have schools with less resources. Schools that can’t afford to hire teachers with more credentials.

You might be asking yourself how race affects the results in education? An article Melinda D. Anderson wrote she mentioned, “Black children accounted for 18 percent of preschool enrollment but almost half (48 percent) of the children suspended more than once; in contrast, white children were 43 percent of preschoolers, but only 26 percent were subjected to repeated suspensions.” Although we fight for racism to end we continue to see it everyday. In this example we see how children of color are subjected to more punishments than White children. A child of color and a White child can behave exactly the same and still there will be more consequences for the child of color than the White child. Below you can listen to a podcast where we can listen to an example of this.

Annette Lareau speaks about her study

Annette Lareau did a study on class differences on African-Americans and Whites. In her study she observed many poor class and working class parents were high school dropouts. Lareau talks about the differences of how parents in different classes with different education levels raised their children and how involved they were with their children’s education. There are many factors that contribute to ones education from income, race, and parents education history.

Personal Experience & Possible Solutions: Being a first-generation Latina college student I can identify with some of these factors being an obstacle in being completely academically successful. My parents never even finished middle school so when it came to applying for college they couldn’t help me at all. My parents were always on top of my grades and attendance making sure I would get good grades but they couldn’t help me with my homework. I have always been a shy person which made it impossible for me to ask for help, which has made me take longer to finish college. I have a younger brother who just graduated high school and who does not have this problem at all since I have been able to help him with everything that is school related. I feel like a possible solution is to help parents, to educate them and help them understand how higher education works and how the earlier they start to think about college the better. I think we should have workshops for parents, not just in English but in the languages they are comfortable with so that they understand. I also think we should fight so that every child has the same opportunities, so that they all have the same quality teachers.

Sociology major at SJSU, with a minor in Chicanx Studies.