When Carlotta Berry saw two TikTok videos of students touring her affluent high school less than 45 minutes from her home in Avon, Indiana, she was speechless.
The video, posted earlier this month and which has since gone viral, shows Carmel High School students showing off their sprawling school’s sprawling facilities — which include a recording studio, a 10,000-seat stadium, a cafe And a planetarium is included.
But as the video continued to appear on her timeline, Berry, who had originally planned to keep her thoughts to herself, pointed to the lack of diversity of students in the video and the disparity of resources for neighboring schools. While doing that decided to post a response. area, such as Avon High School, in which his daughter studies.
“I think that was the most frightening part for me. … At what point do you say, ‘Stop throwing me money at this high school and consider other schools in the area,'” Berry told NBC News. If you have a natatorium and three cafeterias, can we have a cafeteria in all schools within 20 miles of the school? a gym?
About 17% of students are black, and 62% are white in Avon, a suburb west of Indianapolis. At Carmel High School, which is in a suburb north of Indianapolis, more than 70% of the students attending the school are white and 3.6% are black. Meanwhile, the median household income in Avon is $92,684, compared to Carmel, where the median is $119,772 according to US Census data.
Berry is one of the 8.4 million viewers of two TikTok videos posted to the school’s account and produced by a student club. While some were impressed with the school’s facilities, others questioned why they were built when other schools in the area lacked resources and were at a loss.
Why does one school prosper while another is poor?
As an example Berry cites the Indianapolis Public Schools, where her husband works. “Their schools look nothing like Carmel,” she said. She also said that schools in Avon and Indianapolis had problems with burst pipes, which kept students out of school “for a while” because they “had to clean up the school.”
According to Jamal Donner, professor of education at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, these fundamental disparities are the result of a legacy of systemic racism and racial segregation in schools.
“For so long, many school districts fought integration, fought segregation, and so a lot of resources were devoted to it.” They said. “A lot of resources were also actually used to prevent school desegregation. And then you also have to throw in the mix white flight that played a role in all of those things.
For generations, predominantly black and Latino schools across the country have been significantly underfunded compared to majority-white schools. Students of color are more likely to attend schools with larger class sizes, less qualified teachers, and lower-quality curriculum offerings.
In addition to the great campus, 60% of Carmel students will have taken at least one Advanced Placement course, according to US News & World Report. At Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School in Indianapolis, less than 30 minutes from Carmel, black students make up more than 55% of the student population; Only 27% of students took at least one AP exam.
According to the US Census Bureau, the median household income in Indianapolis is $54,321, less than half that of Carmel. He noted that affluent public schools are often swamped by property taxes in wealthy and typically majority-white neighborhoods. Homes in these communities are also assessed at a higher rate, he said, which produces more taxes that go toward funding schools, which can create a number of benefits, including offering more competitive salaries for teachers. .
Carmel High School’s abundance of resources is also reflected in the home values of families living in Hamilton County, one of the wealthiest counties in the state. According to Zillow, the median home value in Carmel is $494,302, compared to $214,433 in Indianapolis and $319,504 in Avon.
Like Berry, Ernest Krim III also posted a TikTok video sharing his thoughts about Carmel High School, which continued to appear on his timeline. Krim, who has more than 350,000 followers on TikTok and posts videos about black history, asked viewers to comment “1” if their school looked like Carmel High, and comment “2” if It’s not like that.
They found that the results were not surprising. Most black respondents said their school “didn’t look like it, and if it did, it was majority white.”
One black commentator said that although her high school had a pool, it also had a “peeling roof” and was “underfunded”. Another said her high school in Jersey City, New Jersey, has no air-conditioning, and students are expected to “take standardized tests while sweltering.”
Krim, who taught high school history for 12 years and lives in Joliet, Illinois, experienced the disparities in education firsthand. Growing up, he was taken to a predominantly white elementary school and later attended a predominantly black high school, which he said was in need of renovation and repair. He also said that he had friends who lied about their addresses in order to get into better schools.
“We couldn’t even play our football games at our school because the field was in such a bad state,” he said. “My basketball gym … even though we were one of the top teams in the city – in the state – our gym could only seat maybe 100 people, possibly only on one side because it was so small. Our baseball field was also in shambles.
Krim said that growing up, many children were led to believe that their parents didn’t try hard enough, which resulted in them being placed in these disadvantaged schools. But it really stems from a system “that created these differences” and that “there’s nothing that these kids deserve to go to that school to look like that.”
A number of organizations and black leaders have worked to eliminate these disparities in education. Last year, the NAACP Indianapolis announced its Indiana Black Academic Excellence Plan, which aims to improve education for black students in grades K-12 across the state and offers 15 strategies to close the educational opportunity gap. The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus also announced in January that it would prioritize bills focused on closing the achievement gap for black and Latino college students.
Both Krim and Berry said they would like to see the resources available at Carmel High School expanded to other schools. As Donner states, helping underfunded schools does not automatically mean taking something away from schools like Carmel, or “getting them something they didn’t earn or deserve.”
For Krim, this will mean making schools places where black students can feel safe and where their “creativity can be explored,” he said. “I think it could change a whole generation.”
He said Berry stressed the importance of diversity in education because it benefits everyone.
“I don’t want to take anything away from the kids on that [Carmel] high schools,” Berry said. “What I’m saying is, give 50% to every high school in the area.” So, if they’re going to do that, that means every high school should have at least one Dining halls, a gym – there must also be resources for the kids who are successful.