Effects of Educational Disparities
Education is one of the most powerful influences that we have in our lives. A single teacher can change our fate forever. Many claim that all it takes is hard work to be successful and that anyone can become successful in a few generations if they want to. However, the truth is that it's nearly impossible for a student from a poor background to get anywhere as far as a student from a wealthy background regardless of personality or individual choices. A big part of this is due to the extreme educational disparities between different socioeconomic groups within the United States.
Children living in impoverished neighborhoods are more likely to attend schools that are also poorly funded, and therefore have less opportunities for academic success in the future. This issue is even worse for marginalized groups like black and hispanic students. Statistics show that there exists around a 40% variation in per student spending between different school districts. As a result of the more poorly funded schools, we see less qualified teachers with lower salaries, leading to lower motivation of students to pursue higher education in the future. The lesser-funded schools lack even basic necessities like heat, running water, functioning plumbing, textbooks, and other valuable supplies.
Even the racial background of a student can lead to disparities in education. Research shows non-black teachers have lower expectations of black students than black teachers do, which leads to less motivation and encouragement of black students to work and try hard in school. Black and Hispanic students tend to be more socially isolated from white students, and are provided fewer opportunities due to bias and this segregation.
This disparity in the education system leads to a cycle: the poor students stay in poor neighborhoods without equal access to opportunities to pursue better career goals due to under-equipped educational systems. On the other hand, the wealthier students get access to better funded public schools with more motivation and resources for learning. This leads to higher rates of dropout, more discipline issues, and decreased motivation to attend college for the schools in the more impoverished areas.
This cycle and educational gap will not stop until some action is taken to eliminate the educational disparities in the United States. This means incorporating more tax dollars towards raising the quality of the poorly-funded schools, implementing more policies to provide the same educational experience to children of all backgrounds, and other programs to make it so all students have a fair and equal chance at success in the future.