Creating Education Equality in the US
by Marvin Mathew
America is the world’s first and largest Democratic Capitalist experiment and what has catapulted us ahead of the rest of the world has been our ability to out-innovate, out-, and out-compete every other nation. Traditionally it has been our stellar education system teaching science, math, and language better than any other nation. Today, our education system is lacking and is rapidly losing its rank in the world. In fact, the United States recently ranked 17th in science and 25th in math (The Programme for International Student Assessment). China and India, countries with a much lower GDP per capita incomes than America have beaten this nation in every field of educational testing. In fact, of these booming economies, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) is set to grow larger than the United States by the year 2030 (Spheres of Influence, The Economist Online). A nation that can innovate is a producer that will lead economically on a world scheme and there is a strong correlation between innovation and education.
The United States must bolster education across communities in America, it is the best way to keep America competitive and maintain stellar innovation. Though bolstering education in America sounds simple, there are a few steps that need to be understood- a few problems that cannot be glanced over for the future of this great nation. First and foremost, the funding quotients of public education need to be reviewed. “Anachronistic funding formulas that date to the 1970s, (LA Times)” will not work in this day and age. The way we fund our public education systems must be reviewed and education across the board must be funded well. Good funding provides opportunities for our schools to get the best administrators, best teachers, and enhances the extracurricular and academic environment of our schools. Through these extra academic programs we can teach our students to think outside the box, boosting their creativity, innovative abilities, and competitive natures. As a previous court case, Grutter v. Bollinger sets forth these actions must be for a “compelling government interest” both for the welfare of the state and the future of this nation. If we continue to fund some schools well and others poorly, schools that are being funding will produce great students who understand how to make society better. However, the schools being underfunded will have a much more difficult time providing strong founded educations, in turn they will be much less likely to graduate young people that can contribute their maximum potential to society. This uneven system of education will negatively impact the future of our country as it will disenfranchise a major part of our workforce. This system will continue to increase the number of students per teacher (blowing up class sizes) and in conjunction with policies like No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top, which employ the use of standardized tests and very specific curriculums, will continue to force teachers between a rock and a hard place. The result of this are teachers so busy preparing their students to pass tests which will help maintain funding that they are unable to teach them skills like critical thinking and not making them real-world-ready.
As a McNair Scholar, I will spend this summer researching education equality in the United States. We, as a nation must think in the larger picture and take this into account as we craft our education laws and policy. Molding better institutions of learning and ensuring every American a quality education filled with opportunity and advancement is essential to protecting the American Dream and protecting the innovative fibers of America’s culture.
I would love to hear any thoughts, experiences, ideas, or feedback regarding education in America.
Please get in touch with me @marvin_mathew or email me at Marvinmathew7@gmail.com