I just finished reading the September/October issue of Sojourners Magazine and in it was an article about education. One of the most remembered quotes from that article is “The achievement gap due to income inequality is nearly twice as large as the racial achievement gap”. It went on to say that most of the underperforming schools are found in low-income neighborhoods. Education is still pretty much a State controlled environment but I know this is true for Indiana where I have lived most of my life.
Schools in Indiana are pretty much funded from local property taxes. So the higher the income area the more the school system gets to educate the kids. I grew up and am still living in a small town rural area of the State. When I was in high school the only guidance counselor we had as a local farmer who also taught FFA classes. I doubt he ever had any kind of training to help kids determine what was the best career field to enter. We didn’t have any advanced math classes beyond trigonometry so when I went to college at Purdue I had to play catch-up with remedial classes in that area as well as a few others.
Today almost all of my property taxes go to funding the local school system. We have a pretty nice high school but I’m sure the same type of situation occurs there as it did in my day. There is just not enough money to get a first-class high school education in rural Indiana.
For a number of years I lived just a few miles away from Carmel Indiana. I don’t imagine many of my readers saw it but Carmel was listed as the top city to live by one magazine. Carmel has the highest income of any city in the State. They also have a high school that would put many smaller colleges to shame. Everything there is first-class. They have multiple swimming pools, a two-thousand seat drama theater, multiple basket ball gyms. I’m imagine they have computer labs that are updated yearly. The list goes on an on. I’m sure they have a full department of well trained guidance councilors who are fully certified in their expertise. I know most rural schools in the area are often on the at-risk status for test results but I’m sure Carmel is right at the top of the list for the highest scores.
Getting back to the Sojourners article it is pretty obvious that there is a huge difference between going to high school in Carmel than in my home town and of course that is primarily because of money. I don’t understand why this disparity has been allowed to exist for all these years. It seems that the opportunities are stacked against those in less prosperous areas.
The Supreme Court will be taking up an affirmative action case soon. It will be interesting to see how they rule. I’m just an ordinary guy but I think there is still a huge need for affirmative action in our educational system. Maybe not so much race related now as much as income inequality. Sadly to say education and the wealth gap continues to grow in today’s world and that stacks the deck against many.
But what do I know….