Date: 12 Nov 2009

Classroom Inequity and the Literacy Experiences of Black Adolescent Girls

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Abstract

According to Portes (2005), equity is defined as “all groups of citizens having (proportionally) comparable school learning outcomes regardless of cultural history, gender, or ethnic background” (p. 11). Inequity in the classroom represents not only an educational issue but also a social one. USA, as a country, is still addressing societal inequities that plague the way citizens govern themselves. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination and segregation of individuals in schools, public places, and employment. In 1972, the Senate passed Title IX that states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational programs or activity receiving federal financial assistance” (United States Department of Education (USDOE), 1998). Additional legislation followed with the 1994 Gender Equity in Education Act in order to protect young women in school and reinforce earlier legislation. In 1974, The Education of All Handicapped Children Act was passed to ensure that states and public agencies provided ­appropriate early intervention, special education, and special services to children with disabilities. These examples of legislation demonstrate the nation’s insistence on tolerance in open societies as well as the education system. They also show how the country has made slow but progressive efforts to alleviate societal inequities; however, at the core of the US education system, much effort is still required to ensure that inequities in the classrooms are eradicated.