Education is a fundamental right for all citizens of a country. In the current system of educational funding, the schools get their funding mainly from the districts in which they are based. Additional funding comes from State and Federal government grants. The districts raise these funds mainly from property tax levied on residents of that district. As a result schools in poor neighborhoods occupied mainly by blacks and Hispanics are disadvantaged as they end up receiving less funds as compared to their counterparts in rich white suburbs. The picture that emerges is that of a government-aided inequality in education funding.
Here in lies the problem. Not all districts are of the same wealth or economic class. Some districts have a relatively wealthy populace while others are dirt-poor and as such there are property-rich towns and property-poor towns. These two classes of towns do not have an equal taxation base. Those who live in wealthier areas get better well-funded schools as opposed to those from poorer neighborhoods who have to make do with poorer schools. The inner city schools mainly attended by black students are old and dilapidated as compared to the clean modern schools situated in the white suburbs.
The contrast is also in the quality of teachers and the perks they get. The wealthier districts are able to provide more funding for school books, playgrounds and other academic programs. Due to the little funding available to poor schools, there is low morale amongst teachers and students. The rich schools are able to offer a wide range of academic programs while the poor schools are more restricted. Special education and teachers trained to handle learning disabilities have become a preserve of the rich. At the end of the day, kids from rich neighborhoods not only get better education, but also better opportunities. This situation creates a vicious cycle for the poor kids because without proper education they get fewer opportunities to succeed in life and are thus condemned to continue living poor.
There is need to address this obvious form of racial and class discrimination in schools. Much of the literature on schools reforms bemoans the lack of adequate funding for schools in general but is silent on discriminatory patterns of funding that is available (Loubert 20). Efforts like busing where kids get to be transported to schools outside their neighborhoods are not enough. Money needs to be pumped into the poor schools to bring them up to standard.
There have been many court cases in which the oppressed have tried to get legal redress for their plight. Such cases have seen states attempt to re-write the wrongs through certain concessions. Special programs have been created for remediation of educational deficiencies arising from past discrimination. Such measures target establishment of effective school programs, reduction in class size, before and after school tutoring and early childhood education. All in all the issue of discrimination in school funding is a test of our society’s resolve to completely tackle racial and class biases in general. It is a test we cannot afford to fail.
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