Bad Schools Not Bad Students: Discrimination in Education
By: Mona Manglona

By: Mona Manglona






CHESTER COUNTY, Pennsylvania –Home to Conestoga Senior High School, rated this year’s number one high school in PA.

RADNOR, Pennsylvania – Centered in the heart of Radnor, PA is Radnor Senior High School, ranked as the number two best high school in PA.

WEXFOR, Pennsylvania – Where North Allegheny High School is located, the number three best high school in PA.


These three high schools have more in common apart from occupying the top three Best Public High Schools in Pennsylvania Ranking, they all are predominantly white high schools.

Conestoga boasts a staggering 77.3 percent of white students to a mere 15.8 percent Asian and only 3.6 percent African American. Radnor is not too far behind with 77.9 percent of their student body being white, 14.3 percent Asian, and 5.5 percent African American. Ranking number 3, North Allegheny is home to a meager 2.1 percent black student population and of course an 85.5 percent white student population. All three schools have less than 2.5 percent Hispanic students and the percentages of Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and multiracial students cumulated amount to a microscopic 0.6 percent, if not zero completely.

Contrastingly, high schools on the opposite end of the spectrum, with extremely low SAT scores, chronically high dropout rates, and consistently low academic performance are schools that have majority black and brown student populations. Focusing on the lowest performing high schools in the Philadelphia Area, W.B. Saul High School has a 63.3 percent black student population, John Bartram High School with 93.5 percent, and Constitution High School at 70.9 percent.

It’s a measure of segregation that is most strongly correlated to the racial achievement gap.

-Professor Sean F. Reardon, Stanford University

In 2017, the Digest of Education Statistics reported that high school dropouts among persons 16 to 24 years old conveyed an overall status dropout rate of 5.9 percent; of that percentage, 4.6 percent of students were white while Black and Hispanic students ruled the majority with 6.5 percent and 9.2 percent. The substantial difference in dropout rates should be no surprise as black and brown students have, for a very long time, received the shorted end of the stick in the public school system.

Racial disparities in education are still prominent despite where the educational system has grown to be since segregation. However, black and brown children have nowhere near the same educational opportunities than their white peers. The challenges such children face compared to their more fortunate peers are unjust. Children from low socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to have more social and emotional problems, they are more likely to attend schools with novice teachers, and they are much more likely to lack the proper resources for them to compete with student fortunate enough to be in more affluent schools.

Today, the gap in education between the rich and the poor, white children and black and brown children, children who live in the suburbs and children who live in inner city neighborhoods, has yet to be stunted. Our children in K–12 classrooms are where we must start to build an equitable and prosperous society. The only way for our children to succeed is by using the data to enact change. We do not need more data to show us that our minority children need access to better education, we need to provide them with the necessary tools to promote their academic successes.