Ethnic Differences In Achievement

Evidence of ethnic differences in achievement.

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Internal and External factors.

We can separate these differences into internal and external factors.

 

Internal factors - factors within the schools and the education system, such as interactions between pupils and teachers, and inequalities between schools.

External factors - factors outside the education system, such as the influence of home and family background and wider society.

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Cultural Deprivation - Intellectual and linguistic

Cultural deprivation theorists see the lack of intellectual and linguistic skills as a major cause of under-achievement for many minority children.

They argue that many children from low-income black families lack intellectual stimulation which leaves them poorley equipped for school because they have not been able to develop reasoning and problem-solving skills.

Bereiter and Englemann consider language spoken by low-income black American families as inadequate for educational success. They see it as ungrammatical, disjointed and incapable of expressing abstract ideas.

There is also a concern that children who do not speak English at home may be held back educationally.

However, David Gillborn notes that Indian pupils do very well despite often not having English as their home language.

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Cultural Deprivation - Attitudes and Values

Cultural deprivation theorists see lack of motivation as a major cause of the failure of many black children.

Most other children are socialised into the mainstream culture, which instils ambition, competitiveness and willingness to achieve long-term goals. This equips them for success in education.

Cultural Deprivation theorists argue that some black children are socialised into a subculture that instils a 'live for today' attitude which does not value education and leaves them unequipped for success.

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Cultural Deprivation - Family Sturcture and Parent

Cultural deprivation theorists argue that this failure to socialise children adequately is teh result of a dysfunctional family structure.

Daniel Moynihan argues that because many black families are headed by a lone mother, their children are deprived of adequate care as she has to suffer financially because of the absence of a male 'breadwinner'. Boys lack a rolemodel.

Ken Pryce says that from a comparason of black and asian pupils, he claims that asians are higher achievers because the culture is more resistant to racism and gives tehm a greater sense of self-worth. Black Caribbean culture is more cohesive and less resistant to racism. Resulting in low self-esteem and inder-achievement.

He argues that the difference is the result of the differing impact of colonialism on the two groups. The experience of slavery was culturally devastation for blacks.

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Cultural Deprivation - Asian families

Driver and Ballad argue that Asian family structures bring educational benefits. Asian parents have a more positive attitude towards education and have higher aspirations for their children's future and as a result, are more supportive.

Ruth Lupton argues that adult authority in Asian families is similar to the model that operates school. She found that respectful behaviour towards adults was expected from children.

However, some sociologists see the Asian family as an obstacle to success, despite the high levels of achievement of some Asian minorities.

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Cultural Deprivation - White working-class familie

White working-class pupils under-achieve and have lower aspirations.

For example, a survey of state schools for the Sutton Truse found that 80% of 11-16 year old ethnic minority pupils aspired to go to university, as against only 68% of white pupils.

This may be due to the lack of parental support. For example, Lupton studied four mainly working-class schools two which were predominately white and one serving a largely pakistani community and the fourth drawing pupils from an ethnically mixed community.

She found that teachers reported poorer levels of behaviour and discipline in the white working-class schools. Teachers blamed this on lower levels of parental support and the negative attitude their parents had towards education.

Gillian Evans argues that street culture in white working-class areas can be brutal so young people have to learn how to withstand intimidation and intimidate others.

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Cultural Deprivation - White working-class familie

White working-class pupils under-achieve and have lower aspirations.

For example, a survey of state schools for the Sutton Truse found that 80% of 11-16 year old ethnic minority pupils aspired to go to university, as against only 68% of white pupils.

This may be due to the lack of parental support. For example, Lupton studied four mainly working-class schools two which were predominately white and one serving a largely pakistani community and the fourth drawing pupils from an ethnically mixed community.

She found that teachers reported poorer levels of behaviour and discipline in the white working-class schools. Teachers blamed this on lower levels of parental support and the negative attitude their parents had towards education.

Gillian Evans argues that street culture in white working-class areas can be brutal so young people have to learn how to withstand intimidation and intimidate others.

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Critisisms of Cultural Deprivation

Geoffrey Driver says that it ignores the positive effects of ethnicity on achievement.

He shows that the black Carribean family, far from being dysfunctional, provides girls with positive role models of strong independant women. He argues that this is why black girls tend to be more successful than black boys.

Errol Lawrence argues that black pupils under-achieve not because of low self esteem but because of racism.

Keddie sees cultural deprivation as a victim-blaming explanation. She says that ethnic minority children are culturally different not culturally deprived.

Critics oppose compensatory education because they see it as an attempt to impose the dominant white culture on children who already have a coherent culture of their own.

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Material Deprivation and Class

Material deprivation means a lack of physical necessities that are seen as essential or noraml for life in today's society.

They see educational failure as resulting from factors such as a substandard housing and low income. Ethnic minorities are more likely to face these problems.

According to Flaherty:

  • Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are over three times more likely than whites to be in the poorest fith of the population.
  • Unemployment is three times higher for African and Banggladeshi/Pakistani people than for whites.
  • 15% of ethnic minority households live in overcrowded conditions, compared with only 2% of white households.
  • Pakistanis are nearly twice as likelt to be in unskilled or semi-skilled jobs compared to whites. Ethnic minority workers are more likely to be engaged in shift work.
  • Bangladeshi and Pakistani women are more likely to be engaged in low-paid homeworking, sometimes for as little as £1.50 per hour.
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Racism in Wider Society

As David Mason puts it "Discrimination is a continuing and persistant feature of the experience of Britain's citizens of minority ethnic origin".

Jon Rex shows how discrimination leads to social exclusion and how this worsens the poverty faced by ethnic minorities. In housing for instance, discrimination means that minorities are more likely to be forced into sybstandard accomodation than white people of the same class.

This helps to explain why members of ethnic minorities are more likely to face unemployment and low pay, and this in turn has a negative effect oh thei children's educational prospects

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