This I Believe

Kyle - Worcester, Massachusetts
Entered on November 30, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

The Ability of Those Neglected

I believe in the ability of those neglected. Horace Mann once said, “education, beyond all other devices of human origins, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men— the balance-wheel of the social machinery” (Horace Mann’s Twelfth Report 79). The idea is simple, when educated, a poor person is equal to someone wealthy, black is equal to white, and female is equal to male. However, there is a problem. The public schooling system is failing to equally educate all of its students.

The situation of public schools in many poor areas of the country is a concern the United States Department of Education continues to turn the other cheek to. As part of the No Child Left Behind Act, the Department for Education increased the standards for public schools. They believe that high goal setting and expectations will result in universal success for all students. Greater success would be a difficult achievement in chemistry class with no labs, or a history class with out dated textbooks. Many areas are experiencing inequality. In Fairfax County, Virginia the median income per household is about $100,300, with only 5.3% of the population living beneath the poverty line. The graduation rate for high school students in 2001 was 87%. The median reported income per household in Cleveland, Ohio last year was approximately $31,600. Research from 2001 discovered the graduation rate for students was 28%. The federal government pays for a portion of each public school student’s education. But, not every student is receiving the same amount of money. Students in districts with higher economic status and board scores are being more than struggling schools. One would think it would be a wise decision to help the strugglers more if we expect everyone to achieve greater status.

Imagine getting ready to take the SATs. The test proctor says it is time to open the test to page one. At the top of the page the directions say to take out a calculator and prepare for the math portion. But there is a problem. You don’t have a calculator because neither your family nor your school is able to provide one. Do you take the test enthusiastically? Or do you say screw it?

Some people choose to fail or drop out. I believe everyone should at least be given the choice. Overtime, if the poor districts were given some extra attention to increase the quality of education, then students might continue education after high school. Allowing them to have better jobs with higher incomes. Higher incomes would lead to better living quality. Then the area they live in would not be a poor stricken hood. It could turn into a business district with local owned businesses and banks or other forms of commerce. If this idea were to come to life, then education would truly be the equalizer of all men.