Dispelling Inequity in Education

Today in the educational realm, we are no longer segregated by race, but by socioeconomic status. In many ways, this separation between low-class and middle to upper class is in fact a division of both race and ethnicity (that being because of the statistically high number of minorities in the lower-class as compared to the statistically high number of Caucasians in the middle to upper class). Academic tests that have been created by policy makers have demonstrated that, for the large part, there is a disparity between test scores of minorities and that of white students. Unfortunately, reformists who have focused on eradicating this disparity, have focused on the curriculum itself. The curriculum, though an important factor in the determining of test scores, is nationalized to such a degree that all students should be receiving the same education.  But if this is true, why is it not working?

Reformists blame common core. Parents and students blame teachers. Teachers blame parents and students. Democrats blame the lack of federal involvement. Republicans blame the excessive amount of federal government. It’s a blame game.

With all the blaming occurring within the educational spectrum, we often overlook the reasoning behind why there is a racial and economic divide within both society and school. Yes, to some extent the curriculum is ‘Euro-centric’ or lacks the creativity and critical thinking within itself, however why are middle class to upper class students relatively more successful than lower class students despite being offered virtually the same curriculum?

Location [not to be confused with environment]. Location is the reasoning behind this inequity. School districts receive their money from the taxpayers within the confines of their district. Poorer districts receive less money. Richer districts receive more money.

Fair? Yes and No.

Yes, in the sense that you get what you pay for. Those from middle to upper class families are paying more for their child’s education and expect to receive an equal if not better education for their child. Those that pay less (in tax dollars), receive a lesser education, one with potentially lesser resources, skilled teachers, and course offerings.

No, in the sense of inequality. The middle and upper class aren’t receiving an equal education to that of the lower class, thus their potential of achieving is higher than that of the lower class. When we as a country promote this inequality in education, we are perpetuating a cyclical succession of socioeconomic statuses.  The rich stay richer while the poor stay poorer.

The American dream isn’t dead; it simply never existed. It is another glorified term that has tried to seduce society into believing that you can overcome any sort of adversity. People have succeeded; they have fought through their socioeconomic status, however, chances of overcoming of one’s own socioeconomic status are minimal. Unfortunately, your chances aren’t based on who you are or how hard you work, it is likely based off where you were raised, what school district you attended, or how much money your family earned while you were a child. In the end, it is receiving an equal opportunity in schools. The educational system must not neglect lower socioeconomic areas, but provide them with equal materials, skilled teachers, and course offerings in order to assist in creating a society of equal chance; after all, America is the land of ‘equal opportunity.’