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Educational Inequality

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Educational Inequality

It seems as if the American government has struggled to evaluate the current educational system in order to determine if significant social issues, including increasing regional poverty, and declining literacy rates in specific urban regions are related to economic differentiations in the education system. There needs to be more emphasis placed on determining a system that provides greater equity between disadvantaged inner-city schools and wealthier suburban, middle class schools. The gap between the nation’s best and worst public schools continues to grow. Our country is based on freedom and equality for all, yet in practice and in the spectrum of education this is rarely the case. Many obvious distress signals seen in today's American urban schools include the increasingly overloaded and under-funded schools, confusion over actual goals and purposes, and a tendency toward a separation into two unequal class divisions within the public schools. Our nation has sadly become a society where many people are concerned only for themselves with little concern for those who are less fortunate.

One of the most significant issues raised in public education in recent years is the radical difference that exists in funding levels between wealth and poor school districts. “Many states have allotted educational funding related to tax revenues, and this has determined a higher level of educational spending in wealthy neighborhoods and a much lower level of spending for inner-city poor and rural poor communities” (Frady 15). A number of states have considered and implemented plans for the equalization of school funding, but this has not come without considerable opposition. Though individuals in low-income neighborhoods areas have defined this equalization as a positive process for improving urban schools, wealthier suburban populations have complained that this will take away funding necessary to maintain programs that are already in place.

“The basic formula for educational spending today is determined by a program called the "foundation program (Kozol 238)". The way that the program works is a local tax based on the value of homes and businesses within a given district raises the initial funds for schools. Then to compensate poorer districts, the state provides sufficient funds to lift the poorer districts to an estimated equal level of the richer districts. “The state, however, does not provide funds equal to the level of the richer district, but instead gives only enough money to provide a minimum or basic education to the students in the poorer districts. This guarantees that every child receives an education, but it is not an "equal" education” (Kozol, 238). State officials determine the sufficient funds, but due to the dynamics of politics they are shaped by what the richer districts determine to be enough. So, in turn, what they are doing is placing the education of the inner-city students in the hands of the supporters of the suburban schools. If the officials are to allocate more money to the poorer districts, then they will be the ones that are affected by additional tax levies on their higher incomes and property values.

“What is at stake is the future of a heterogeneous America, a place where there is equal opportunity for everyone, not just for those who can afford to pay for a good education and the chance to have a more prosperous life” (Kozol 237). It seems as if “Those who do not want their children to be handicapped by the learning problems of others who have suffered generations of oppression, ignorance, and neglect simply abandon the city schools that these students were being integrated into and fled to richer suburban schools” (Kozol 238). Today, Blacks, Hispanics, and poorer children dominate 23 of the nations 25 largest urban school systems. This has raised a permanent fissure in our public schools and has separated them into two separate and unequal class systems - one suburban, privileged and mostly white; and the other inner-city, poorer and mostly non-white.

One of the most important and central individuals when dealing with saving the merit of are urban schools are the teachers. They are on the front line, having daily contact with the students, and

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