The U.S. Schooling Dilemma
This chapter deals with demographic look at students in the United States and discusses the national context of students' lives outside of school and the inequalities they experience within the educational system. Immigration status, religiousness, family composition, sexual orientation, and disability status—all represent important dimensions of student identity and experience. Social and economic class are important aspects of identity, and they structure students' schooling experiences and outcomes. Racial disparities in wealth and income, lead to corollary disparities in children's access to the basics of life—food, health care, housing, and safety—as well as access to high-quality schooling. This increased racial and socioeconomic separation is followed by unequal access to educational resources, opportunities, and outcomes. The chapter concludes by introducing Judy Smith and three other teachers who recognize and embrace their students' diversity, acknowledge their struggles, and work to bring social justice and academic excellence to their classrooms.