To what extent do racism and discrimination apply to America's elementary schools?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To the extent that racism and discrimination apply here, they apply in subtle ways.  They do not apply overtly in the way they did a few decades ago.

Today, discrimination and racism are not overt.  Instead, they are (one can argue) more subtle.  They exist in the form of institutional racism.  This can be seen in underfunded schools that are majority black.  They are not underfunded due to overt racism.  They are underfunded due to the fact that our system funds schools based on property taxes, which allows rich people to have well-funded schools while poor people do not.  This can be seen as institutional racism.  Subtle and perhaps unconscious racism can also be seen in things like how children are assigned to special education or how they are disciplined.  Proportionately more minority children are given harsh punishments at school.  Proportionally more of them are assigned to special education classrooms.  This is not seen as evidence of overt racism but of subconscious discrimination.

In these ways, racism and discrimination today are much more subtle than they once were.