We compiled some recommended resources below that can help to deepen your knowledge around the education system and inequities that persist across racial and socioeconomic lines. While the perspectives below are not necessarily meant to be representative of students in our program, we believe building broader awareness around gaps in our education system and barriers to success is beneficial context to consider when working with students through a strengths-based approach.
Questions to Consider:
- How do the educational experiences shared compare with your own?
- Who are our schools and higher education institutions traditionally designed to serve? Who is left out?
- What are the historical and systemic barriers present that lead to an unequal playing field for many students of color from low socioeconomic backgrounds?
This American Life – Three Miles (Podcast)
There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and costs $43,000/year. They are three miles apart. The hope is that kids connect, but some of the public school kids just can’t get over the divide. We hear what happens when you get to see the other side and it looks a lot better.
NPR & Education Week – Raising Kings (Podcast)
They’re called "kings." All freshmen. All young men of color. And all determined to upend the dominant narrative about young black men in Washington, D.C. Their all-male public high school is designed specifically to meet their needs. And for many of the young men, their needs are profound. Two reporters spent hundreds of hours with teachers, students, and parents from the school's earliest days to the final bell.
It was a teacher who first cultivated the belief within Dr. Ebony Green that she was enough and that she lacked nothing. That very sentiment would unleash a fire within her to become who she is. She believes that all stakeholders in education must realize that granting grace and instilling in children the belief that they lack nothing shapes and molds them to become scholars and, ultimately, leaders in the world.
“It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that a low-income student, no matter how intrinsically bright, moves up the socioeconomic ladder,” said Sean Reardon, a sociologist at Stanford in the story above that ran on the front page of The New York Times. “What we’re talking about is a threat to the American dream.”
Carlos is a brilliant student from South Los Angeles. He attends an exclusive private school on an academic scholarship. He is the kind of person the American meritocracy is supposed to reward. But in the hidden details of his life lies a cautionary tale about how hard it is to rise from the bottom to the top—and why the American school system, despite its best efforts, continues to leave an extraordinary amount of talent on the table.
High-achieving, low-income students, often the first in their families to attend college, struggle to feel they belong on elite campuses.
Right now, all sorts of people are trying to rethink and reinvent education, to get low-income students of color performing as well as white kids. But there's one thing nobody tries anymore, despite lots of evidence that it works: desegregation. Nikole Hannah-Jones looks at a district that, not long ago, accidentally launched a desegregation program.
VICE News – Raised in the System (Video)
In "Raised in the System," the extended premiere episode of the sixth season of HBO’s weekly news magazine series VICE, Emmy-nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams embarks on a personal journey to expose the root of the American mass incarceration crisis: the juvenile justice system.
Brown v Board of Education might be the most well-known Supreme Court decision, a major victory in the fight for civil rights. But in Topeka, the city where the case began, the ruling has left a bittersweet legacy. Reconsider the impact of the decision through the lens of the Browns, the family behind the story.
Around the world, black girls are being pushed out of schools because of policies that target them for punishment. The result: countless girls are forced into unsafe futures with restricted opportunities. How can we put an end to this crisis? In an impassioned talk, Monique W. Morris uncovers the causes of "pushout" and shows how we can work to turn all schools into spaces where black girls can heal and thrive.
What My Students Taught Me (Podcast)
A podcast series featuring teachers reflecting on one of their most challenging and memorable students — whenever possible in counterpoint with the student’s version of the same events.
Read the articles in this section to gain a better understanding of the current realities facing many of iMentor's students.