Ethnic differences in Education

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  • Ethnic differences in Achievement
    • External factors
      • Material Deprivation
        • Members of minority ethnic groups face direct and indirect discrimination at work and in the housing market.
          • As a result they are more likely to have low pay or be unemployed, affecting their children's educational opportunities
      • Cultural deprivation
        • White working-class pupils
          • Lupton: found that teachers reported poor levels of behaviour and discipline in whte working-class schools, they linked to lower levels of parental support and the negative attitudes towards education parents have
          • Evans: argues street culture in white working-class areas is brought into school, strong pressure to reject education arises
        • Attitude, values and family structure
          • The lack of male role models for many African-Caribbean boys encourages them to turn to a anti-educational macho gang culture
            • Black street gangs offer an alternative perverse loyalty and love
          • Black Caribbean culture is less resistant to racism because of the experience of slavery, as a result many black pupils have low-esteem and under-achieve
          • The subculture into which some black children are socialised is fatalistic and focused on immediate gratification, resulting in a lack of motivation
          • Sewell argues that Chinese and Indian pupils benefit from from supportive families with Asian work ethics, this contrasts with black lone-parent families
        • Intellectual and language skills
          • Cultural deprivation theory claims that children from low-income black families lack intellectual stilmulation
          • Some claim that children that do not speak English at home may be held back educationally however this is not a major factor
        • Compensatory education
          • Sure start in the UK aims to support development in deprived areas
        • Criticisms
          • Victim blaming - Ethnic groups are culturally different not culturally deprived
          • Minority group parents are at disadvantage because they are less aware of how to navigate the British education system
    • Internal factors
      • Labelling
        • Gillborn and Mirza
          • Found that in one area, black children were the highest achievers on entering primary school, yet by the time it came to GCSE, they had fall below the average. Suggesting schooling is to blame
        • Gillborn and Youdell
          • Teachers had racialised expectations about black pupils.
          • The conflict between white teachers and black pupils stems from the racist stereotyps the teachers have rather than the pupils behaviour
        • Teachers assumed Asian primary school pupils would have poor English skills, mispronounced names and saw them as problem they could ignore
      • Pupil subcultures
        • Sewell found black subcultures formed as aresponse to labelling
          • Conformists - largest group who were keen to succeed, accepted school's goals and had friends from other ethnic groups
          • Innovators - the second largest group who were pro-education but anti-school
          • Retreatists - a minority who were disconnected form the black subcultures and the school
          • Rebels - a small but visible minority group who rejected school and conformed to the black macho lad stereotype.
        • fuller: Study of year 11 high-achieving black girls, rejected stereotypes, didn't seek teachers approval and maintained friendships with girls in lower streams.
        • Mac an Ghail's study of Asian A level students. Didn't accept teachers negative labels
      • Institutional racism
        • The ethnocentric curriculum priorities of one particular ethnic group whilst disregarding others.
        • Ball sees the history curriculum as ignoring Black and Asian history
        • Because marketisation gives schools more scope to select pupils, negative stereotypes can influence decisions about admissions
        • Assessment is rigged to validate the dominant white culture's superiority
        • Whites are twice as likely to be identified as gifted and talented


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