Thoughts on Economic and Racial Discrimination in Education

By Rev. Don Johnson (retired)
Member, Central Christian Church, Enid

Economic and racial discrimination exists in education. There are often specific schools for children of the rich and other schools for children from poor families. Schools for children from poor families often provide substandard education.

Our Sunday school class became aware of a problem in such a school in a poor village of indigenous people on the shore of Lake Titicaca, in Peru. Here, 15 children, ages 3 to 6, went to a one room school with meager school supplies. As an example, they shared one box of crayons and one pair of scissors. It was no surprise that children from this village were not allowed an opportunity to take the admission test that determined who could attend the very good schools for children ages 7 to 12.  As a result, these children didn’t get to go to the schools for “rich children.”  And these parents, particularly fathers in this patriarchal society, saw little value of education for their children that led nowhere.

Our Sunday school class began to donate $50 per month to provide this school with adequate school supplies. After a year, a father from this village felt empowered to insist that his six-year old daughter take the admission test. She came in fourth of the 2000 children tested.  She was admitted to the rich children’s school. And she did well. Through our providing school supplies for her school, Maria has a better future than her parents had ever hoped for.

Because of Maria’s success, parents from this village have changed their attitude towards school.  They have hope for a better life for their children through education.  And they tell their children, “Follow Maria’s example. Pay attention to your teacher and do your homework. Now, children from this village routinely test well and are admitted to the schools for rich children. And they succeed.

The Oklahoma Region changes lives with education through your contributions to the Region’s Annual Fund, the Disciples Mission Fund and our ministry to Caminante. Call the Region for opportunities to make a difference.