Destigmatizing the Idea of Educational Equity

By Britt Masback, Eamon Walsh and Luke Aitchison (Want Original Content)

In a time of educational disparity within Portland Public Public schools and across the country, many organizations are attempting to destigmatize the problem, raise awareness, and attack the fundamental problems that prohibit free and equal education for people of all types of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. According to Arun Gupta of Al Jazeera America, what’s happening is the opposite of white flight. “Middle-class families eye Northeast Portland for its undervalued homes but choose different schools because neighborhood ones are pegged as bad. Declining enrollment bleeds money from already underfunded schools, making them less attractive and creating a downward spiral in which the schools are rated as failing, subsequently closed and eventually replaced by charter schools that can cherry-pick students.” He also states that 40% of the black population has been pushed out of Portland since 2000. A more thorough education will open up more doors, give increased access to better jobs and make overall quality life better. Educational equity is dependent on two key factors, fairness and inclusion. While many steps have been taken to achieve these standards, many educational systems still lack key parts such as support for those who come from less wealthy backgrounds. However, this is not something only students of diverse backgrounds should focus on; it would also be beneficial to the United states Government to increase equality in public education. Multiple studies has shown that if the gap in educational performance between black and latino students versus white students were to be decreased, the GDP of the United States could rise 2 to 4 percent or around 300 billion dollars. Education in private schools is very slanted towards those with higher income, which unfortunately is a group dominated by higher-income white citizens. Because private schools are generally better funded than public schools, their education is better than that of public school education. This contributes to the argument against school vouchers, because taking more money away from public education for a few people hurts the rest of the students who are enrolled in public education. Overall, the amount of inequality in our education system is clear, but how do we fix it? To begin with, we need to fund our schools better. Every time President Donald Trump spends a weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort, it costs $3 million in taxpayer dollars. This money could be rerouted into our public schools to help give a better education for all. Each weekend he spends at the resort, that could be $30.36 going to each public school. He has visited the resort five times so far, which is raises the total to $151.80 per school. If you then take $151.80 per two months in office and multiply that out through four years, that is over $3,600. It is clear that there are many ways to find the money to fund our education system, which would decrease inequity because then all schools could have the resources to decrease the educational performance gap.

Photo Credit: r. nial bradshaw

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