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Marquette Messenger

The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

The news site of Marquette High School

Marquette Messenger

Shelly Justins Black Literature class creates posters for Black History Month. Throughout the semester, the students will read literature written by Black authors. A similar class is the topic of controversy in the Francis Howell School District.
In Defense of Black Literature
Editorial BoardFebruary 12, 2024

Francis Howell North High School students organized a walk-out on Thursday, Jan. 18, in response to proposed changes to the curriculum of their...

Taylor Swift, TIME Person of the Year, made multiple headlines in the past few months for her connection to Travis Kelce, tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Opinion: Taylor Swift Has Been Nothing but Beneficial to NFL
Zoey Srote, Staff Reporter • February 8, 2024

With the Kansas City Chiefs now Super Bowl LVIII bound, the Baltimore Ravens’ loss after securing a spot in the second round of the NFL playoffs...

Black students face a major achievement gap in regard to advanced placement courses, as a result of racial biases and curriculum-based limitations that negatively impact their academic performance.
Opinion: Racial Bias Affects Academic Performance
Justin Small, Page Designer • January 25, 2024

I remember the day I decided to look around at MHS. I noticed that in all of my higher-level honors and AP classes, very few people looked like...

Jason Winter, choir teacher, talks with his 4th hour class during their break-time, which occurs every 30 minutes. Monet Ballard, junior, said Winter’s class has been much more productive since the restorative periods were implemented.
Opinion: Students Need Breaks During Classes
David Moss, News Editor • January 4, 2024

Hasty passing times and a strict attendance policy have helped maintain safety and order at MHS. But when I find myself constantly rushing, working...

Canvas is one of the most used college interfaces and is seen in many Missouri universities, such as MIZZOU and St. Louis University. Blackboard is another popular site, while Google Classroom is rare to see in postsecondary institutions.
Opinion: RSD Canvas Investment is Valid
Editorial BoardJanuary 4, 2024

The Rockwood School District has decided to go all in on Canvas for the 2024-2025 school year. While Google Classroom has been students’...

Opinion: Racial Bias Affects Academic Performance

Black+students+face+a+major+achievement+gap+in+regard+to+advanced+placement+courses%2C+as+a+result+of+racial+biases+and+curriculum-based+limitations+that+negatively+impact+their+academic+performance.
Media by Elliott Jorgensen
Black students face a major achievement gap in regard to advanced placement courses, as a result of racial biases and curriculum-based limitations that negatively impact their academic performance.

I remember the day I decided to look around at MHS. I noticed that in all of my higher-level honors and AP classes, very few people looked like me. Very few people shared my background. Very few people were Black.

And as of now, this has not changed.

Black students seeming less likely to take more rigorous classes is hardly a new issue, nor is it specific to MHS. According to a 2020 study by the Education Trust, despite Black students making up 15% of high schoolers nationwide, only 9% are enrolled in AP courses.

However, the achievement gap facing Black students regarding AP courses should not be taken as an indication that they are inherently unable to succeed.

Factors such as implicit biases and stereotypes can have a significant impact on the performance of Black students in school. According to the article “Why AP Classes Lack Diversity — and Why We Need to Change This,” Black and Hispanic students often face barriers such as resource inequalities, biases among educators, and a lack of diverse educators that dissuade them from taking Advanced Placement courses.

Educator bias, in particular, is one of the most significant barriers. The article “The Truth Behind the Racial Gap in Advanced Placement Courses” reports that “educators tend to recommend these courses to [white students] more often” and “bias is generated by the fact that there is a lack of diversity among educators.”

Furthermore, educators who are not Black would naturally have more difficulty relating to or properly understanding the experiences of Black students. MHS, in particular, has very few Black staff members and no Black teachers, which could result in Black students feeling like they are misunderstood or have few adults to trust.

To close the gap between Black students and their counterparts, we must begin properly acknowledging and fighting against the systemic and curriculum-based factors that negatively influence their performance, rather than continue to believe in harmful stereotypes against them.

Some ways to solve the issue include the district hiring more qualified Black teachers, ideally to teach AP classes, which would attract a stronger Black student population to enroll in those courses and create a more culturally sensitive environment.

Furthermore, requirements specific to AP courses such as zero hours could be changed to better accommodate Black students who live further from the school.

We must also understand that AP courses are not an inherent measure of a student’s intelligence. By recognizing this, we could also halt the stigmatizing of Black students who are not in the AP program.

The biggest solution, however, is understanding that racism in education is still a significant issue, even if it isn’t as explicit as the de jure segregation of the past. We must help people examine their own biases and recognize how they create an environment that limits Black students’ ability to succeed.

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About the Contributors
Justin Small, In-Depth Editor
Justin Small, junior, is the In-Depth Editor for the Marquette Messenger. This will be his second year on staff. He is a part of the Marquette Academic and Cultural Club and participates in track and field in the spring.
Elliott Jorgensen, Associate Producer/Production Editor
Elliott Jorgensen, Senior, is the Associate Producer for MHSNews and Production Editor for The Messenger. He enjoys going to theme parks, going on bike rides, and creating video content. He is the publicity lead for the MHS Theatre Company and participates in the politics club.

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