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Structural Forces Impacting Equity

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Introduction

The public school system is very complicated as it experiences the impact of a large number of social and economic factors. Currently, the public school system in Atlanta, Georgia is inefficient due to several reasons. First, it does not aim to create equal opportunities for students, regardless of their race, ethnicity, and status, to name but a few, especially in relation to preschool education. The problem is not only that there is the White-Black achievement gap but also that the government and related specialists are not interested in eliminating it. Second, the overall quality of education is very low, and it does not meet the existing requirements of the labor market and national economy. Third, the lack of tough competition among schools does not contribute to the solution of equity problems. Public schools are not interested in satisfying the needs of the most talented students, regardless of their race and other characteristics. Fourth, the authorities do not provide incentives for all parties involved to change this situation. As a result, parents are unable to select the desired schools, teachers are not motivated to improve their performance, and students have to focus on the existing racial bias rather than the real learning opportunities. Thus, it is crucial to address all these issues as a whole to make public schools efficient.

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Summarization of Forces

There is a considerable number of the major factors affecting equity in public schools. The entire public school system is oriented to the needs and preferences of White Americans and students from upper social classes, while the interests of other racial and social groups are systematically neglected. Although this problem is widely recognized, the government does not initiate any effective reforms to improve this situation (Carey, 2014). The existing White-Black achievement gap has a negative effect since it violates minority students’ rights and the overall efficiency of American economy. It is evident that artificial advantages experienced by White Americans contribute to regular dscrimination of African American students. Under the current conditions, they do not have real opportunities to advocate their position and protect their rights.

The general quality of education tends to decline because students do not believe that their efforts may enable them to achieve the corresponding career and other opportunities in the future. Students perceive the existing educational environment as non-flexible and do not invest the proper amount of energy and strengths in their learning. The lack of motivation may continue to exist, especially if equity issues (including preschool education) are not properly addressed. Apparently, low competition between public schools does not contribute to the implementation of innovations and satisfaction of the needs of the most talented students. Moreover, all stakeholders are not free in optimizing their choices and behavior. Parents have a very limited choice of schools for their children (Carey, 2014). Teachers do not believe that remuneration reflects their efforts. Students do not evaluate the learning process from the perspective of future life opportunities.

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Thus, it is evident that the equity index is affected by a combination of structural, cultural, economic, and political forces. Firstly, structural forces are observed in the existing imbalance between the needs of minority groups and educational services offered. Secondly, cultural forces are evident in the orientation to cultural needs of White Americans from upper classes. Thirdly, economic factors refer to lower opportunities experienced by African American students due to their disadvantaged position. Finally, political forces are represented by government officials’ systematic neglect of the interests of minority groups.

Explication of Forces

It is reasonable to apply this general analysis to the situation with Atlanta public schools (APS). The White-Black achievement gap exists in Atlanta, Georgia, and it affects a substantial number of students as the number of racial minorities is high. It is necessary to create equal opportunities for all students as welll as avoid any potential conflicts during the implementation of reforms. The reason is that Atlanta teachers do not employ the latest educational achievements and are dependent on traditional methods. Currently, there are no forces that may alter the existing achievement gap and improve the situation (Jeynes, 2014). Therefore, there is a need for the implementation of the complex strategy and initiation of the large-scale interventions in this sphere.

The major problems observed in APS are associated with a very low quality of education in comparison with other regions of the country. Tagami (2015) states that the recent Milestones tests have demonstrated that the level of knowledge among Atlanta public schools students is inadequately low. In fact, they are below the expectation of experts and are much worse in comparison with public schools from other regions. It proves that the current equity-related issues may considerably impact on the quality of education. Moreover, it shows that both students’ knowledge and teachers’ performance are unsatisfactory (Tagami, 2015). Therefore, radical reforms in this sphere are needed since they should encourage a more responsible attitude of all parties involved toward the education process.

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The lack of competition is also observed among APS as the majority of schools do not have the clearly stated objectives in this regard. Apparently, they do not want to improve their performance both in absolute and relative terms (in comparison with schools from other regions) as they lack the proper motivation. As a result, APS are not interested in examining the experience of other public schools coping with equity issues. As a consequence, it leads to even further problems in relation to equity as the seriousness of this issue is not properly understood. Parents in Atlanta have to follow the existing public schools patterns as they do not have the necessary amount of choice (Jeynes, 2014). Teachers are not motivated to increase their qualification and address the most urgent needs of their students. On the other hand, students do not enjoy the optimal conditions to express their views and realize their full potential.

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