Danielle James, NorthJersey.com, May 8, 2007
Racism and segregation still permeate the public schools; the American education system continues to fail its students.
One example of this is the failure of the schools to teach collaboration—to prepare students to work together without discrimination and hatred.
Too often in school you witness students segregating themselves from one another. During class assignments and projects, many students tend to gravitate toward people who look like them, act like them or come from the same neighborhood they do.
In an average day at John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson, time after time students segregate themselves from each other. They have divided the school based on ethnicity.
For example, there is an “Arabic Hallway,” a “Dominican Hallway” and the center hallway, which is for African-American students. Even during cafeteria periods, when students are supposed to interact with each other, they tend to segregate themselves, with one race sitting at one end of the cafeteria while the others sit at the other end.
It seems that the education system is going back in time.
Again and again, I feel as if we’re reliving the days before the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that called for the end of segregation in public schools.
Teachers are depriving their students of equal opportunities by allowing them to segregate by race. If the students are not taught in school how to work together with different people and adjust to different personalities and lifestyles, they are not being properly prepared for the real world, which is filled with ethnic diversity.
Teachers need to organize special programs and classes geared toward student interaction that motivates them to collaborate with each other. Having discussion time, interactive groups and different ethnic programs will also help.
Schools need to showcase the unique styles and beauty of each and every person, race and ethnicity to get all students active and communicating. There should not be any form of segregation in our school system, but reinforcement of unity and togetherness.