Essay Sample on How Race Determines Confidence in Educational Institutions in the US

Published: 2022-11-04
Essay Sample on How Race Determines Confidence in Educational Institutions in the US
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Race Education
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1532 words
13 min read

Public confidence in the institutions of learning in the US is an important asset because schools are essential elements of a society. Education is a fundamental aspect in the world such that generations after generations are socialized to pursue knowledge derived in schools for a better future. Education is arguably considered as the key to a brighter future. However, the topic is controversial because critics argue that one can be successful without education. Nevertheless, the public confidence in educational institutions is determined to a large extent by social contexts. In particular, the race is a significant factor that determines confidence in education in the US. With this note, the purpose of the research is to evaluate how race determines public confidence in education. Public confidence acts as a normative system of control that symbolizes institutional legitimacy vital for the survival of organizations. Therefore, it is important to understand the racial perception of education, especially between whites and blacks due to the economic, social, financial and political disparity that exists between the two ethnicities. As such, the null hypothesis of the study argues that race influences public confidence in education or institutions of learning while the alternative hypothesis claims that race does not determine confidence in education.

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H0 = race influences the public confidence in education or institutions of learning

H1 = race does not determine confidence in education or institutions of learning

Literature Review

Socio-demographic differences that relate to racial uniqueness in religion and politics explain that blacks have a higher confidence in education than their white counterparts. However, the racial disparity with regard to class or socioeconomic status is one of the most important factors that explain why blacks believe in education than whites. According to Klugman and Xu (2008), African Americans have a lower level of income and education than whites on average. Therefore, blacks are more likely than whites to end up in poverty. Neighborhood segregation studies in the US indicate that whites are more privileged to live in better communities than blacks who are confined to poorly maintained neighborhoods others called "projects" or "ghettos" according to the street language of the black community. As such, African Americans may tend to work harder in schools to achieve a better career as a means of escaping poverty, income and wealth inequality. Furthermore, since literature indicates that people with higher levels of schooling indicate poor confidence in education, the confidence in learning institutions can be deduced from socioeconomic differences (Klugman & Xu, 2008).

Koppera (2016) argues that apart from religion, class or political views, whites and blacks have a different relationship with education that explains the confidence gap between the two ethnic groups. African Americans are subjected to various difficulties such as racial discrimination and for them to achieve the American Dream academic success is a plausible factor that gives them a better occupational achievement. Due to income and wealth inequality in the US, blacks have less wealth than whites due to segregation in cities and residential suburbs. Furthermore, employment discrimination in combination with the lack of close ties with institutional agents and gatekeepers implies that education is the only route to secure a better life leading to the increased confidence in learning institutions than white families. As a result, blacks portray pro-school values than whites according to research (Goyette, 2017). Likewise, studies also indicate that black students are more likely to cheat and break rules in school than whites so that they can meet their educational goals and aspirations. Moreover, empirical literature indicates that formal measures of human capital and education matter a lot for the black community in terms of obtaining promotions in the workplace than it is for whites.

Klugman and Xu (2008) stipulate that the socioeconomic status or class shapes the family models of the relationship between home and school. As a result, working-class families have a perceive school and home as separate domains and that educational responsibility is solely bestowed on schools. In other words, working-families take their children to better schools and expect schools to meet the educational goals of their children. On the contrary, middle-income families believe that the close connection between home and school in that they are intertwined and take a proactive duty in the education of their children. Nevertheless, Goyette (2017) argues that upper-middle-class families confront and convince school management to promote the interests of their children. Therefore, it is not surprising to find individuals with higher education expressing low confidence in schools (Koppera, 2016). On the other hand, the black-white gap confidence in education is also determined by various factors other than class. The political and religious views of blacks and whites explain why African Americans have a high confidence in education. According to Johnson and Peifer (2017), the white community in the United States tends to be more conservative and hence lean towards the Republican Party as compared to blacks. Therefore, the conservative nature of the majority of whites makes them lose confidence in institutions of learning than Democrats and individuals with liberal affiliations. Likewise, religious differences between whites and blacks show that whites dominate or are affiliated with conservative Protestants who argue that schools (public) threaten the spiritual and moral values of their children (Klugman & Xu, 2008).

Analysis and Assessment

The study utilized data from the General Social Survey (GSS) 1972-2016 to support the thesis of the study that race plays a crucial role in determining public confidence in education. According to the SDA website analysis of the GSS data, it is evident that blacks portray higher confidence in education than whites. In the frequency distribution table derived using SDA 4.0, blacks scored 39.5% confidence in education while whites scored 28.3% which shows a great deal in the confidence gap. The data, therefore, hold that the null hypothesis is valid while the alternative hypothesis is invalid. Nevertheless, a study by Johnson and Peifer (2017) found that blacks had a low confidence in education. Their findings indicate that the inequity in higher education may be the root cause of the difference relative to primary and secondary schooling. Similarly, the educational attainment gap between whites and blacks is wider in higher education completion than in high school indicates that blacks are quite pessimistic about attaining higher education. However, this study does not agree with the findings of Johnson and Peifer (2017). The literature for this study is sufficient enough to support the null hypothesis since the GSS data provides ample evidence to show the importance of this study.

SDA 4.0: Tables

General Social Survey 1972-2016 Cumulative Datafile

Dec 07, 2018 (Fri 11:47 PM PST)


Role Name Label Range MD Dataset



Weight COMPWT Composite weight = WTSSALL * OVERSAMP * FORMWT .1912-11.1193 1

Frequency Distribution

Cells contain:-Column percent-Weighted N RACE


CONEDUC 1: A GREAT DEAL 28.39,774.5 39.51,986.3 37.3829.9 30.112,590.6

2: ONLY SOME 57.219,776.5 48.82,457.9 50.61,125.2 55.923,359.5

3: HARDLY ANY 14.55,008.6 11.7590.2 12.0267.7 14.05,866.6

COL TOTAL 100.034,559.6 100.05,034.4 100.02,222.7 100.041,816.8

Color coding: <-2.0 <-1.0 <0.0 >0.0 >1.0 >2.0 Z

N in each cell: Smaller than expected Larger than expected Allocation of cases (unweighted)

Valid cases 41,847

Cases with invalid codes on row or column variable 20,619

Total cases 62,466


1 /html/D3/GSS16

2 /html/Npubvars/GSS16



Confidence in public institutions is a vital component that evaluates the growth and development of a society. Institutions of learning are fundamental to the success of a society because they help nurture future leaders, managers, engineers, scientists, and medical professionals among others. Therefore, understanding the public confidence in education according to race is essential for developing better socioeconomic and political policies guarding education. From the study, it is clear that blacks have more confidence in education than whites even though the findings of the study are counterintuitive to some critics. Socioeconomic status or class, political and religious views are some of the factors that explain the confidence gap between blacks and whites with regards to education. However, on average, whites have better incomes or are wealthy and have higher educational attainment than blacks who are more likely to be poor and uneducated. Nevertheless, the study indicates that blacks face a lot of difficulties such as poverty, employment discrimination, and segregation making them have better pro-school values than whites. Such challenges make them view education as the only plausible solution to overcoming poverty and the only route to success as compared to whites. Therefore, the study deduces that the confidence gap could also be as a result of a defensive complacency by the African American community because of the racial inequality present in the US. Education is a survival tactic for the black community not only in terms of occupation but also as a means of running for public or political offices to change their minority narrative.


General Social Survey (GSS) Dataset and Analysis. Retrieved from

Goyette, K. A. (2017). Education in America. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

Johnson, D. R., & Peifer, J. L. (2017). How Public Confidence in Higher Education Varies by Social Context. The Journal of Higher Education, 88(4), 619-644. Doi:10.1080/00221546.2017.1291256

Klugman, J., & Xu, J. (2008). Racial Differences in Public Confidence in Education: 1974-2002*. Social Science Quarterly, 89(1), 155-176. Doi:10.1111/j.1540-6237.2008.00526.x

Koppera, V. (2016). Racial Trends and Differences in the Intergenerational Transmission of Education. SSRN Electronic Journal. Doi:10.2139/ssrn.3027814

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