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Polygence Scholar2021
Joy Ndamukunda's profile

Joy Ndamukunda

Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville (Online School)Class of 2023Houston, Texas

About

Hello! My name is Joy Ndamukunda. I am a member of the class of 2023, and I attend school virtually. My past Polygence project was on Modern-Day Segregation: The Disproportionate Representation of Minority Students with Learning Disabilities in the Houston Independent School District. I achieved more than I ever wanted with that project. My goal was simply to email my project to the mayor and have him read it. I did not expect the mayor to review it, connect me with the two women, and allow me to present my project. The two women from the meeting connected me with a young woman my age who shared my interest in education inequality, and we decided to start a blog together called The Student Initiative. The topic of education inequality has become a passion of mine as a result of this project, and I intend for my second project with Polygence to be about it as well. Link to my blog: [https://www.the-student-initiative.com/](https://www.the-student-initiative.com/)

Projects

  • "Does the quality of education a student receives in Texas depend on the neighborhood they live in? Wealthy neighborhoods in Texas are less taxed but receive more funds for schooling, while poor neighborhoods in Texas are more taxed but receive less funding. There have been issues in Texas’ school funding system and yet there have not yet been changes." with mentor Victoria (Working project)
  • "The false labeling of minority students having learning disabilities in HISD." with mentor Rina (Jan. 6, 2022)

Project Portfolio

Does the quality of education a student receives in Texas depend on the neighborhood they live in? Wealthy neighborhoods in Texas are less taxed but receive more funds for schooling, while poor neighborhoods in Texas are more taxed but receive less funding. There have been issues in Texas’ school funding system and yet there have not yet been changes.

Started Dec. 16, 2022

Abstract or project description

Texas’ school funding system has not been changed in 30 years, and yet there are major issues that must be addressed. Though this issue is known by researchers, it has not been addressed, nor is it widely known by the majority of the population in Texas. I mainly want to bring this to students' and Texas lawmakers' attention. The methods I am using for my project are articles and data collected by researchers. Currently, I have found that nationally, while white students enroll about 1,500 students, nonwhite school districts enroll over 10,000 students. In addition, I have found out that poor white school districts receive "about $150 less per student than the national average," but they are still receiving $1,500 more than poor non-white school districts. Furthermore, Texas' "local control" system benefits privileged neighborhoods, and wealthy neighborhoods in Texas are taxed less than poor neighborhoods. Lastly, I found that in Texas, the majority of nonwhite school districts receive 7% less funding than the majority of white school districts. I hope that once I am finished with my project, I will be able to share it with Texas lawmakers and students so they are aware of this issue. I also hope to be able to brainstorm solutions so that I not only bring this issue to people’s awareness but also provide them with possible solutions for them to support. I hope this research allows me to present it to a Texas lawmaker and for me to be able to connect with others who also wish for this issue to be addressed.

Project Portfolio

The false labeling of minority students having learning disabilities in HISD.

Started Oct. 13, 2021

Abstract or project description

My project will research and try to develop solutions to the issue of falsely labeling students of Color as having learning disabilities more in predominantly white schools than in primarily student of Color schools in Houston, Texas. I will specifically examine how students with learning disabilities are labeled and why, and compare how it is this labeling is made in predominantly white schools in contrast to predominantly student of Color schools. My main focus will be on how people of color are classified as having a learning disability, why their labeling differs when they attend mainly primarily white schools rather than predominantly student of Color schools, and the factors that contribute to this problem. I will also present how students of Color take the TAKS-M at a disproportionate rate than White students. This issue also contributed to modern-day segregation because the TAKS-M test is given to students who are in even more special need. This test is given to students of Color on the basis of assumptions from their teachers. This way of identifying whether a student needs to take the TAKS-M invites bias and prejudice into their reasoning. Furthermore, I will research and attempt to find policy solutions to this issue. Moreover, I will send a letter to the mayor of my city and the president of my school district. Then. if they respond to my letter I will present my presentation to them. The reasoning is to inform them of this issue so that solutions can be made.