I was introduced to IMPACT during spring break of my freshman year as a participant on the Human Trafficking Awareness and Advocacy trip to Birmingham, AL. A truly unique experience which, oddly enough, wasn’t one of my top choices. However, I’m glad that I was placed on this trip because it gave me the opportunity to develop an understanding of an overlooked social justice issue. Before the trip was even over, I knew that I wanted to become a site leader because for the first time in years I felt growth as a person. It was this growth ,along with my amazing site leaders from the trip, that inspired me to give it a shot. I am beyond excited to lead this year’s Education Access and Advocacy trip to Charlotte, NC alongside my amazing co-site leader.
I’m looking forward to leading this trip because as college students we are rarely prompted to think about education beyond the classroom. My goal is for us to gain a better understanding of the underlying causes of educational inequality through the multiple intersections and lenses of this social justice issue. This trip will give us the opportunity to serve alongside the Charlotte community with the goal of applying that knowledge in a sustainable way. Education is unique in the sense that its sole purpose is to invest in the future. So understanding why some communities have more investment than others is important for the growth of every community. Every individual reserves the right to reach their full potential, and education is often times the most ideal way to do that.
Fun Fact: I’m an absolute clutz so please don’t leave any open liquids or fragile things around me, thanks.
(pictured planting potatoes on my inaugural IMPACT trip-- Food Justice to Durham, NC in Spring Break of 2019)
Hi, I’m Grace!! I’m a second-year studying Sociology with minors in Human Development and Family Science and Leadership in Student Affairs! I’m so excited that you’re reading about our trip. I love IMPACT and I can’t wait to show you why!
I got involved with IMPACT my first year because it came highly recommended from one of my upperclassmen friends. I chose a spring break trip focused on Food Justice that traveled to Durham, North Carolina. For me, this trip was truly a transformational experience. I connected with the most giving and thoughtful people on my trip, and served with the most amazing, intentional organizations, dedicated to their cause of alleviating food insecurity in Durham. My first IMPACT trip gave me a greater desire to advocate for causes that I believe in, and really showed me ways that I could get involved and stay involved in service. My favorite part about IMPACT is how we strive to be sustainable in our service--working with the same community partners and nurturing those relationships year after year.
Because my first trip was so awesome, I applied to be a site-leader and I got the gig!! I was so excited to learn that I was co-leading the Education Access and Advocacy trip because I feel like education can be taken for granted among college students, especially at the University of Georgia--where campus can sometimes feel like a bubble, and students oftentimes aren’t aware that surrounding UGA is one of Georgia’s poorest counties, with a seriously strained school system. I connect with this issue area a lot because my mom is a teacher at a public elementary school, and I can see how difficult her job is with limited resources. I also mentor a child in the Clarke County School system, and hearing about her dreams to become a math teacher when she grows up inspires me. Education is a gateway to opportunity for so many people, and everyone deserves to have equal and equitable access to education.
A fun fact about me is that I was born on February 22nd, 2000, so I’ll turn 22 on 2/22/22! (I also share my birthday with George Washington)
Education inequality: The unequal distribution of academic resources, including but not limited to; school funding, qualified and experienced teachers, books, and technologies to socially excluded communities. These communities tend to be historically disadvantaged and oppressed. (Wikipedia)
Public Schools- A free, tax-free school controlled by a local government authority
Charter Schools-A public school that is independently run, receiving greater operating flexibility in exchange for increased performance accountability
Private Schools- A school supported by a private organization or private individuals rather than by the government.
Higher Education- Education beyond highschool, especially at a college or university.
Special Education- a form of learning provided to students with exceptional needs, such as students with learning disabilities or mental challenges
Equality: The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. (Oxford Dictionary)
Equity: The quality of being fair and impartial.
Plessy v. Ferguson: Plessy v. Ferguson was a landmark 1896 U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine. As a result, restrictive Jim Crow legislation and separate public accommodations based on race became commonplace.
Brown v. BOE: Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement, and helped establish the precedent that “separate-but-equal” education and other services were not, in fact, equal at all.
Jim Crow- State and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States
Equal Educational Opportunities Act (1974)- Federal law that prohibits discrimination against faculty, staff, and students, including racial segregation of students, and requires school districts to take action to overcome barriers to students' equal participation.
Common core- (in the US) a set of educational standards for teaching and testing English and mathematics between kindergarten and 12th grade.
Achievement Gap-Any significant and persistent disparity in academic performance or educational attainment between different groups of students
No Child Left Behind Act- Federal law that held schools accountable for how kids learned and achieved, penalizing schools that didn't show improvement.
Additional information about Education Inequality
According to the U.S Department of Education, students who drop out or don’t attend college primarily come from low income families.
Education is closely related to property tax, which $316 billion, roughly half, of funding for publics schools (NCES).
Students with both physical and learning disabilities “tend to be under-educated and under-employed.
During the Jim crow era, Charlotte was the city “that made desegregation work” by having school demographics reflect the community rather than drawn up school districts.
The Charlotte- Mecklenburg district is the most segregated school district in North Carolina. A major cause of the inequality in Charlotte schools is because of the city’s deep history with segregation.
According to ProPublica, black students are 5.8 times more likely to be suspended than white students and are, on average, 3.2 grades behind white students.
According the NCES, the national high school graduation rate for white students was 87% as opposed to 73% amongst black students.
Education Inequality in Athens
Athens-Clarke county has experienced the effects of racial segregation with UGA admitting its first black students relatively recently, in 1961. According to a 2006 study, Athens-Clarke county has a high level of educational attainment which is the highest level of education that a person has successfully completed. According to the 2000 Census, 37.5% of Athens-Clarke county residents had at least 4 years of college experience- double the state average. However, much of this data is directly correlated to the presence of UGA. In terms of the county’s public schools’ white students are 3.2 times more likely to be enrolled in at least one AP course when compared to black students, despite 50% of the district consisting of Black students. Additionally, 77% of all expelled students were Black compared to 7% of white students, a similar ratio is present when looking at out of school suspension rates.