Promoting entry of underrepresented minority groups into the allied health professions is paramount to developing a balanced workforce that reflects the needs of an evolving populace. Currently, significant underrepresentation of racial minority groups in health and science related fields correlates with data showing an overrepresentation of black and Latino students in Title 1 (at-risk and low-income) schools. Data suggest that students who are exposed to “higher quality” science education, such as “hands on” experiences, have increased interest in pursuing a health or science related career. These findings prompt the hypothesis that Title 1 schools face inequalities in their science education when compared to Non-Title 1 schools. The study presented herein utilizes surveys targeted to Clark County School District high school science teachers to analyze variation in science education between Title 1 and Non-Title 1 high schools. These surveys reveal that Title 1 schools perform significantly fewer biology experiments than Non-Title 1 schools. In addition, this study indicates a correlation between lower socioeconomic status and the absence of a school science club. Science clubs are important outlets for mentorship and further exposure to science education, especially for minority students of low socioeconomic backgrounds. These results may provide the basis for legislative action to improve minority students’ access to health/science programs. Future retrospective and/or prospective studies may determine how secondary science education influences such factors as college acceptance rate, percentage of college matriculates declaring majors in science related fields, and ultimately, rates of entry into healthcare fields.
Inequalities in Science Education; STEM; Underrepresented Minority Groups; Minorities--Education; Science--Study and teaching; Healthcare professionals
Biology | Inequality and Stratification | Medicine and Health | Race and Ethnicity
Cotter, B. K.
Prescribing Change for Minority Students: Diagnosing Inequalities in Science Education in the Clark County School District.
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