Everyone knows that Martin Luther King Jr. fought for a world where everyone should be judged by their character, regardless of the color of their skin. His efforts were rewarded with a national holiday in which we have off school so we can remember his words. He wanted the different races to be able to come together, instead of continuously separating themselves like under the Jim Crow laws. However, just like in the Jim Crow days, schools are still segregated.
One big discrepancy is the racial separation between city and suburban schools. According to the data of the US Department of Education, African American students make up 75% of high poverty schools, and Caucasian students make up only 6%. In low poverty schools, African American students make up a remarkably low 5%, while Caucasian students are 5 times more likely to attend a low poverty school than high. According to data reports posted on Urban.org, “Poor, segregated schools are a symptom of a broader array of racial equity issues that flow from neighborhood segregation and housing discrimination, legal barriers to school desegregation…” Is this what Martin Luther King dreamed of?
Finding a solution to ensure students of all races have the same educational opportunities would honor his legacy but is a very complex issue.
One way this problem can be solved would be for next generation schools focus on recruiting a more diverse student population. Furthermore, suburban teachers may not have the experience of working with students in poverty, so a multicultural training would benefit all educators, not limiting them to the experiences with the students they have taught so far.
Dr. King’s vision was to unite the races and move beyond color lines. While we’ve made some progress in the country, there is still a problem with segregation in urban schools. We as the next generation are responsible for developing a solution and moving toward truly realizing Dr. King’s vision