Minority School Performance
Minority and the Educational Implications
To begin with, the problem of minorities either succeeding or failing in education has remained of great interest for scholars for many years. While researching this issue, such articles as Exceptions to the Rule: Upwardly Mobile White and Mexican American High School Girls by Bettie, Behind the Model-Minority Stereotype: Voices of High- and Low-Achieving Asian American Students by Lee and Variability in Minority School Performance: A Problem in Search of an Explanation by Ogbu have been taken into consideration. This paper argues that the minoritys attitude to education is not static, as it is closely connected with the relationships and experiences inside and outside of school.
Ogbu in his article Variability in Minority School Performance: A Problem in Search of an Explanation states that the success or failure of the minorities in studying does not depend on their communication, language or communication style differences, but on the subordination, exploitation of minorities and their history. Reflecting on Ogbus article, my opinion was that the only valid reason concerning minoritys success or failure does not exist. As a result, we cannot claim that the history of minority groups, subordination, or exploitation is the main reason for the minoritys performance in life. The majority of the group agreed with my point of view. Hanal and Doyonn claimed that there exists no rule that can be applied to every human being. Moreover, Doyonn proved that a person himself/herself decides whether to succeed or fail. In support, he mentioned the famous quotation by Henry Ford declaring that whether a person thinks he/she can do something or thinks he/she cannot do it, the person is right. On the other hand, the rest of the group preferred to agree with Ogbus point of view, especially concerning societal forces that influence minoritys performance at school. As the author of the article mentions, black people were always deprived of superior education and good jobs regardless of all the efforts they made. This reason made them pay less attention to the school performance as they got used to the fact that they could not reach a good position in the world even if they worked very hard.
Bettie in her article Exceptions to the Rule: Upwardly Mobile White and Mexican American High School Girls concentrates on the reasons why those who are considered as exceptions to the rule become upwardly mobile. Having taken into account the results of the experiment she conducted, I agreed with Bettys opinion that the main factor that influences successful performance at school is the dissatisfaction with present state. Hyejin and Doyonn supported my point of view and mentioned that the majority of the surveyed upwardly mobile girls admitted that their parents did not study at college, therefore they did not get well-paid jobs. Having concluded that the lack of good education was the main reason their parents were not successful, these girls prioritized education and became upwardly mobile.
The last, but not least, Lee conducted a research among Asian American students revealing how their personal identities can create a different attitude towards schooling within the same minority group. According to the research, the Asian American minority group is subdivided into two smaller groups Korean, and Asians. Having analyzed the article, I have found out that the characteristic features of the subdivided group were the main factors of influence. For instance, Koreans were brought up programmed to imitate authentic Americans, or whites, and, therefore, succeed in life. Although, almost all members of our group admitted that the family considerably influences childrens performance and attitude towards education, Hanal argued that it could not be the main factor. She proved it, claiming that if a person does not have some skills necessary for successful mastering of a particular subject, the familys opinion and influence will have no results.
While researching this topic, I have talked to three random people from the street asking them questions about minorities and immigrants. The question I have been most interested in concerns the image that immediately appears when they think of minority groups or immigrant groups. Moreover, I have asked the members of my group what they thought about these issues. As our group has found out from the articles mentioned above, there exist such types of minorities, as autonomous, immigrant, and involuntary. All members of our group agreed that being a member of immigrant minority is better than being a member of involuntary group. The main difference between these groups is that immigrants leave their homeland, searching for better social, cultural, and financial life, while members of involuntary minorities are brought to other countries through colonization, slavery, or conquest despite their will. Hanal, Bokyung, Doyonn and me agreed with Hyejins point of view.
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The first person questioned was a girl, who emigrated from Ukraine. It was obvious that she knew a lot about minority groups and immigrants, as she was the part of these communities. I asked her about the reasons why she immigrated to USA and whether cultural, historical, or language differences caused any problems. I was very surprised with her answer, as she told me that she never encountered any difficulties neither in communication with others nor at school, college, or job performance. Concerning the reason why she left her country, she answered that it was not her choice, as her parents decided to move to another country seeking for better life conditions.
The next two participants occurred to be pure Americans, who believed that minorities are those who are discriminated because of their race, gender, or number. When I asked them what image occurred when they heard about immigrants, they thought of people who had to leave their homeland because of instability, bad life conditions, or for some political reasons.
In conclusion, there are many factors that affect minoritys performance at school, at university, college, or life in general. These could be the cultural, or historical differences, as well as personal apprehension of the way leading either to failure or success. Taking into account everything mentioned above, we came to a conclusion that despite all the factors that influence either success or failure, the main thing that influences is the persons attitude towards the situation. It is not only the matter of minority groups, it concerns people as a whole.