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Educational Inequality: Now Is The Time To Act

Inequality within educational systems has been growing and as of now, there looks to be no end in sight.

Recent polls conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have shown that America’s educational system is worsening. Research has shown that America was ranked below average out of 24 industrialized countries in literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments. What does this mean though? It means that the US which has been slipping farther and farther in rankings for the most well educated society during the last decade has gotten even worse. Actions must be taken now; otherwise the problem could become too severe to overcome.

The problem in the United States is that literacy and education has taken the back seat to other problems considered “more important” such as foreign affairs, political scandals, and conflicts between political parties. The key to solving all of these problems is through education. According to the OECD’s research, the widening of rich-poor gaps in the US is in direct correlation with education between the classes. When looking at the findings, it is seen that the people that are wealthier become better and more well educated. Wealthy families can afford preschools, private schools, tutors, the best technology and more. On the other hand, lower class families, many of whom are living far below the poverty line are not as successful in life and are not getting equal education as these wealthier families are. The OECD has found that 35% of blacks and 43% of Hispanics had lower literacy levels compared to only 10% of whites. Is it because they are not as smart has wealthy white families? No, it is because of the situations these families have to live in day in and day out. They can’t afford the best private schools or the best technology. Some families can’t even afford to buy their children school supplies. How is that fair? Everyone deserves a right to receive an equal education. Just because someone’s socioeconomic class might be lower than another, that person or persons shouldn’t be treated differently when it comes to an educational standpoint.

The ramifications of this educational inequality then go on to affect the nation as a whole. “Children lagging behind in school become adults left behind in the workforce,” said Erika Christakis in the article Mind The Gap: How Education Inequality Holds Us Back. The US was found to have some of the best high level cognitively skilled adults but in hand had the most adults who had very low skill levels. Many people bash these lower skilled adults saying how they are lazy or it is their fault that they aren’t successful like others but it isn’t their fault necessarily. The fact that they weren’t able to receive equal education as a child means that they weren’t able to succeed career wise. This then causes their children to suffer the same consequences thus creating a cycle. This cycle has to be broken though. Society will only become stagnant, or worse, retrogress to the point where advancements in technology of the human race will cease.

How does the US compare globally? When looking at other nations such as Japan and Finland, they have shown that their education systems are much better than not only the US but most of the other nations in the world. The two countries have the highest percentage of highly skilled adults and some of the lowest levels of poverty. Many people will advocate that the US should become like these nations but can that really happen? Look at Japan. Japan is fairly isolated in the aspect that it has no direct neighboring countries. Immigration levels are extremely low in Japan and so is the amount of people speaking foreign languages.

With Mexico bordering the US, immigrants come to America seeking a better life. What this does is that it causes the school systems in the United States to have to reform to the different needs of each student. Some people can’t speak English at all. That doesn’t mean that they are less intelligent than someone that can. It just means it is not their native language. Stick the average America into a foreign country and see how they do. 9 times out of 10 they will be perceived as less intelligent and be succumbed to the low skilled jobs many immigrants face in America. This means that when comparing America globally, it is at an unfair advantage. The diversity of people is so big that not one style of education can be taught like in Japan or Finland. Thus, the creation of educational inequality is formed. People that are considered different due to language barriers or class difference are forced to deal with less of an education and more of a struggle to succeed. However, this isn’t an avocation blaming someone else for the problems in the US. It is just to compare the differences between countries showing how some of these global results are skewed.

Nevertheless, reforms must be taken now. We, as a nation cannot let the gap widen anymore. It is unfair and unjust. One shouldn’t be subjugated based on wealth and education. They should be given a fighting chance to prove that they are indeed, equal, just like everyone else.