Educational inequality in primary and seconday schools in the U.S.
Educational inequality in primary and secondary schools in the U.S.
The rising inequality in the education sector is increasingly becoming a concerning issue in the US. The issue is impeding societal integration and progress of various individuals economically and socially. It also affects the lifestyle of many people especially the minority groups. According to Gootenberg & Reygadas (2010), inequality in the education sector has been witnessed from the ancient days of agrarian revolution. During the time, African-Americans were the mostly discriminated lot in the US. They were denied and not allowed to access good schools as their white counterparts. The few who had the privilege of accessing schools attended small schools that had limited resources and education support infrastructure. However, the whites went to schools that had well-trained teachers, superior curriculum, good infrastructure and advanced learning materials (Gootenberg & Reygadas, 2010). In short they had adequate education resources. This helped in providing them with solid background and knowledge on diverse phenomenon. They were getting equipped with pertinent life skills that prepared them for employment. The strong education system enabled them to pursue lucrative careers as compared to their counterparts from minority groups.
Currently, the inequality levels in the education have taken anew dimension that threatens the future of many young people. The disparity is evident among people of diverse culture and remains common amongst Negroes and the minority groups in the nation. The current trend of disparity is attributable to some factors that include racism, economic disparities, tax disparities and location of schools (McDaniels, 2014). It is also attributable to the increasing discrimination based on color and race. The largest groups of people who are affected are the minority groups and the poor. For instance, the Latinos and Negroes are highly sidelined in the education sector. Most of them still find difficulties in accessing quality secondary and primary education. Due to this they lack strong values and knowledge that is inculcated at the lowest level of education. This hinders them from participating in the socio-economic development of the nation as their counterparts. This paper gives in-depth discussion on the inequality that is evident in the US education system. It focuses on the factors that contribute to the problem towards the realization of amicable solution.
The US education system
The US education system has been regarded as the most lucrative and effective system of learning in the world. It is known for producing well-trained professionals in diverse fields of operations. It is also known for its effectiveness in producing top innovators and researchers who contribute in the socio-economic development of the world (Gootenberg & Reygadas, 2010). Despite this, the education is faulted for failing to cater for every citizen equitably. The system promotes unfairness and discriminatory learning especially at the lowest level of education that is critical for holistic development of a child. In the year 2014, concerns were raised about the rising inequality in the education sector. Many stakeholders including the US president raised concerns about the matter and stated that something drastic ought to be done to change the state of affairs (McDaniels, 2014). The president noted that the existing disparities in the education sector are unacceptable and a violation of basic human right to education.
According to the education experts and other stakeholders, education inequality is caused by economic disparities and racial discrimination including lack of nearby schools. Other variables that are attributable to the inequality include gender, social class, earnings, health status, political affiliation and achievements. Statistics indicates that more US nationals drop out of schools due to various factors (McDaniels, 2014). The largest number of those who fail to graduate at the end of the learning cycle are African–Americans, the Latin Americans and other minority groups. In particular, the statistics indicate that over 22.2 million children and adolescents of Latin Americans are out of schools. They are out school because of lack of funds to finance their fees, purchase learning materials and maintain good health that is necessary for good education.
How taxes affect educational equality
Notably, every state in the US has their education funding plan and initiatives. The plans do not differ significantly given that the major sources are shared. Tax is one of the important determinants of the successful nature the education in diverse states. The factor is vital since taxation influence the cost of learning in general (Paula, Kuenning & Vieira, 20015). When taxation on learning materials is high, the cost of education rises while when the tax rate is low another cost of education becomes manageable. Due to this, most states have been urged to set favorable tax rates to enhance equality pin the education sector. Many disadvantaged families have been affected greatly by the high tax rates in most states. They cannot afford to purchase relevant books needed for their children’s success and pay fees. The deficiency in resources facilitates their increasing dropout from schools general (Paula, Kuenning & Vieira, 20015). For instance, some states have increased tax rate on books and other learning materials that have in turn affected the total cost of education in the nation.
The mismanaging of the local property taxes is a neither problem that contributes to the inequality in the education sector. Local property taxes help in the payment for a huge portion of the expenses associated with the education sector. Local revenues normally cater for about 25 – 55% of the total education expenses. On the other hand, 33% – 88% of the remaining expenses are paid by the state revenue accounts including small contributions from the federal governments general (Paula, Kuenning & Vieira, 20015). For instance, public primary and secondary school system received only 16.8% in the year 2008. This amount was inadequate to run schools hence led to the destabilization of the education system. Funds were inadequate thereby hindering the availability of learning materials and resources for operational running of the institutions. The move forced many schools to resort to local means of funds mobilization that is majorly through fee payment. Parents had to come in and bear the additional cost of running the institutions.
The increased charges have been contributing to high school dropouts as many parents cannot manage to pay the costs. Additionally, many wealthy people do not aspire to pay tax heavily to help in promoting learning conditions in other schools that are preferably the schools where low-income earners take their children. The unwillingness is exposing children from poor background given that they cannot manage to pay for the services. This together with the inferior amount of property taxes is systematically crippling the poor district schools.
How schools affect educational equality
Similarly, location of schools affects educational equality greatly in the US. The distance between most schools especially good primary and secondary schools is far apart from the homesteads or residential areas. The long distances disadvantage the poor who cannot afford the cost of accessing the long distance easily. They find it hard to navigate the streets of major towns easily. Distance disparity causes inequality in the education sector in diverse ways. Firstly, it denies those who have no cars the opportunity of accessing good schools that are located in the serene locations that are far apart (Paula, Kuenning & Vieira, 20015). The poor find it hard to support their children to have experiences in such good schools due to transport limitation as compared to the rich. This already creates a disparity between the poor and the rich as the poor will be left to attend local schools that are characterized with inferior education support systems and teachers.
The problem is real in most states including Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Texas among others. Those who enjoy learning in good schools and enjoy a wide range of choices are the rich. They can access the good schools easily since they can finance the transportation of their children to the school easily. They can pay for the school bus transportation arrangement, pay for their children’s boarding or offer them designated drivers who take them to the schools daily (Paula, Kuenning & Vieira, 20015). The poor cannot manage this hence create a social gap between the poor and the rich. The inequality that is depicted out rightly under circumstances in the difference regarding the education quality received. Kids from the rich families are likely to get advanced and quality education that prepares them to greater heights in the future while the poor continues to get inferior education that limits their competitiveness.
The effect of race on educational equality
Race or racial discrimination is another important factor that facilitates inequality in the education sector (López-Calva, Lustig & UNDP, 2010). Racial discrimination is a problem that has progressively affected the equality of education in the US. The racial issue started in the ancient days and bit refuses to fade away even in the current century. Race affects the equality in the education sector in the following ways. First, some students are neglected in schools by the teachers including their peers by color, social status, and economic strength. Evidently, the treatment that children from the rich families, whites and those with advanced social lifestyle are treated well as com[pared to those from poverty-stricken background. The fair treatment they receive is the adequate attention that teachers and fellow students accord them, they are provided with adequate learning materials, and they receive admission in the good schools easily (López-Calva, Lustig & UNDP, 2010). The treatment boosts their ego, knowledge capacity and confidence that enable them to face life with vigor that is necessary for meaningful success.
Negative attitude against the blacks, Latinos, the poor, socially disadvantaged people and other minority groups by the well-off families, teachers including education officers impedes their ability to achieve quality education. The negative attitude makes whites majority to be reluctant in offering meaningful services to the poor as compared to the rich or whites, depicts the existing disparity (López-Calva, Lustig & UNDP, 2010). Racial discrimination is also evident when education support is given to students. The whites are prioritized when education incentives are distributed. For example, education grants and school bursaries are given mostly to whites with neglect to the minority groups in the nations. This kills the hopes of the bright and needy students from the minority communities including the low-income earners.
Effect of education inequality on the society
The inequality in the education sector in the US should be corrected given that it results to more harm than good. The inequality causes systematic disharmony between community members in various states. It causes social and economic complications that create hostility among the society members. For instance, the minority communities, and economically challenged families feel disadvantaged by the whites in the society. The feeling of neglect makes the most minority group members to react extremely on conflicting issues that emerge between the groups. Therefore, social harmony, understanding and togetherness are affected by the inequalities evident in the education sector.
Indeed, economic disparity is major cause of inequality in the education sector. Parents who are financially challenged opt to stay with their children at home since they cannot afford the cost of learning that is increasingly escalating. The cost is beyond their means as compared to the rich in the society. Racial discrimination and poor attitude that teachers have towards the minority groups and Negroes also contribute to the inequality. The inequality is evident in this aspect based on the quality of education received or the level of scores at the end of the semester. It has been established that children from minority communities and the Negroes perform poorly as compared to the whites. Their scores are low hence finds it difficult to progress to higher levels of education. The dismal performance is fueled by the inadequate guidance they receive from the teachers who are mostly whites. The teachers do not accord them priority or adequate time to guide them on things they are not aware off. This causes a major disparity that is unwarranted in the state.
Gootenberg, P., & Reygadas, L. (2010). Indelible inequalities in Latin America: Insights from history, politics, and culture. Durham [N.C.: Duke University Press.
Grown, C., & Valodia, I. (2010). Taxation and gender equity: A comparative analysis of direct and indirect taxes in developing and developed countries. London: Routledge.
López-Calva, L. F., Lustig, N., & United Nations Development Programme. (2010). Declining inequality in Latin America: A decade of progress?. New York: United Nations Development Programme.
McDaniels, C. (2014). Equality of Educational Opportunity: Race and Finance in Public Education. Retrieved from, http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1992/1/92.01.07.x.html
Paula, M., Kuenning, A & Vieira, R. (20015). Income inequality and educational inequality: Comparing the U.S. and Brazil.