The booklet will educate law and policy makers on critical issues encountered by immigrant students in search of higher education based on race, culture and Identity.

Implementing Law and Policy

In Education

With Race, Culture and Identity

 

By Ruth Medina

Dr. Maurice Dolberry/ BEDUC 330 Race, Culture and Identity/ Spring 2016

Abstract

The booklet will educate law and policy makers on critical issues encountered by immigrant students in search of higher education based on race, culture and Identity. The content of the booklet sheds light on laws and policies that mandate equal access to education for immigrant children from k-12 however fails to support immigrant children to higher education.  It is the intention of this booklet to request changes to the U.S. federal law to comply with the right to equal access to higher education for immigrant children in order for them to be considered an integral part of society that does not discriminate, segregate or alienate this children from academic and professional success, and most importantly it describes the struggles that immigrant students encounter every day because of their race, culture and identity. From BEDUC 330 class lecture by Professor Dr. Maurice Dolberry, segregation used to be a political concept of the U.S. past, however, based on class discussions it is a current practice today.  Public schools are funded by neighborhood property taxes, therefore segregating schools to funds that are what the community could afford for their districts.  If the districts are poor, then the schools are poor, if the districts are financially wealthy then so are the schools.  What this creates is disparities amongst the access to education for minority children, mainly children of color; immigrant children.

Education Laws and Policies

 

Two major policies and laws that have changed education opportunities to minority children have been brown vs. Board of Education and Plyer vs. Doe. In the U.S. Education system children of color where segregated and forced to attend different schools before 1954. After 1954 policies were implemented to make schools legally integrated.

 

In 1982 Plyer vs. Doe also created history for minority immigrant children by allowing them to legally attend k-12 education based on the discrimination from federally funded public institutions that were not allowing undocumented children to attend public school. However, what the Supreme Court failed to do was describe what would happen to this children once they reach graduation of their senior years of high school.  Higher education is the controversial conversation for many states that don’t agree with the furtherance of immigrant children to higher education.

Race

 

According to the Critical Race Theory Racism has been a system for the U.S. up until now where no other factor can exclude a person of color to its oppression.  Gloria Ladson Billings’ author of just what is Critical race theory and what’s it doing in a nice field like education? Describes her experience in a conference where she was the guest speaker and she is mistaken for a server just because of the color of her skin. What her story demonstrates is that in the U.S. society no matter what social economic status, position or other factor; the color of your skin will always be a socially constructed signifier as Gloria Billings describes it. To minority immigrant children it is an even more impactful signifier that holds them back from progress and education.  Students are held back, or even placed into English Language Learner (ELL) programs based on their race, culture or identity. Besides the laws that do not encourage or support higher education for immigrant children they have to go to public schools who stereotype them based on their race.

 

Culture

 

The culture in the U. S. society is based on capitalist norms that create impediments for those whom are less economically privileged. Research by Billings describes the education gap and the economic debt of the country. Disparities in education systems and the way that they are funded only contribute to the education gap and oppression to minority immigrant children. In the country the federal government contributes to prisons, to war efforts and war weapons. Yet, it is difficult to contribute a greater dollar amount towards education. Culture in the U.S. stereotypes and gives a strong value to skin color and money.  Institutions are segregated by the lack of resources to the less privileged schools. The less privileged schools at many times also get the least prepared teachers creating less opportunity of learning and advancement in academic affairs to immigrant students.

 

Identity

 

In Savage unrealities critiquing Ruby Payne by Paul C. Gorski. The author critiques her stereotypes of identity in the U.S. and the economic structures of class. Payne blames the poor for being and remaining in poverty. It is a discourse that addresses the stereotypes placed on poor people when in reality in many times they don’t have a choice. Many are born into poverty and poverty doesn’t get alleviated when there are not enough social services or jobs in the economy for people to progress out of it.  For immigrant children social economic status is stereotyped into a part of their identity, and their identity contributes to their status.

 

Recommendation

 

Research shows that education gaps are due to the unequal funding distribution and lack of access to resources for poorer school districts. Research also shows that immigrant children, children who are children of color are the ones who are on the statistics of being the lowest scoring students. What this means is that the federal government needs to implement new policies that support and encourage further education for minority children, and that the government needs to invest more financially towards education.  The Brown vs. Board of education was meant for integrating schools, and the law is not being enforced if education continues to be funded based on the semantic environments of the school districts.  Money should be equally distributed to all schools and all schools should provide the same resources.  Plyer vs. Doe should be revised to include higher education. In order to not segregate and discriminate all students should be given the right to have a choice of a higher education.  For U.S. citizens there are grants, scholarships, financial assistance and a stronger focus on success guidance then there is towards students of color or migrant students. Law and policy makers should change this.

 

Limitations and Challenge’s

 

Some of the limitations and challenges to changing laws and policies regarding race, culture and identity are that those whom are in the top of the hierarchy of power will be against the revision of plyer vs. Doe and the application of Brown vs. Board of education.  The structure of power will never be overthrown because those in power will never want to give up being at the top. Even if systems do change, if people’s minds and hearts remain racist or prejudice towards what is different than our society will not move forward in a more equitable world.

 

About the Author

 

I attended Professor’s Dolberry’s BEDUC 330 Race, Culture and Identity course spring 2016. I learned that in order to end racist educational gaps, I not only have to change minds and hearts; but systems that have oppressed students of color, minorities and immigrants in the U.S.

I am an immigrant in the U.S. I attained higher education but it took me twice as long as a traditional student.  I am a women of color who goes through racism, sexism and yet is determined to change systems to allow more students of color a chance to have a career and a position that we also deserve as human beings in this world.

My plans are not to become an educator in a classroom but a lawyer whom will counsel on the rights of everyone to an equal chance to higher education.

The Class was an amazing experience and I am glad that I also had the privilege of sitting in the most diverse row of the class.