The Inequality of American Education

Abby - Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Entered on June 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

“ True education makes for inequality; the inequality of individuality, the inequality of success, the glorious inequality of talent, of genius.” A quote by Felix E. Schelling describes the American education system today: a system of inequality. In a country of a plethora of opportunites, students of the public education system, as well as postsecondary institutions, face discrimination due to governmental apathy, economic situations, and a dying interest in quality education.

This brings me to the issue I face today: the struggle to afford my college education. I was accepted to my ‘dream’ school in Washington, D.C., albeit a very expensive, private institution. When I recently visited this school, I was informed by a financial aid counselor that because of the scholarship I was already offered from this institution, it was unlikely that I would receive grants from the institution itself. The logic in this case: because I did well in high school, I received a scholarship; but because I did well and I am also financially strained, I should still only receive aid for doing well. My conclusion here is that to survive the financial aid system of these institutions is to either do well and be rich, or to be average and financially strained. Therefore, again using this logic, I should have aimed lower, and done an average job in high school, so I could then afford a college education. If I would have aimed lower, I would not be faced with the choice between annual debt, or the choice of lowering what I want in my college education.

Why does this government insist on fueling the elitist attitude that has overtaken post-secondary institutions? They say that anyone that tries their hardest can go to the highest-esteemed colleges in this country. Why do financially strained high school students have to lower their expectations of their education to accommodate what they can afford? Why do I, a student that was inspired by her mother’s dedication to education, already have to worry about finances and terrific debt at the age of seventeen? Why do I, a student that tried my hardest in high school, have to lower the expectations of myself because of how much money my parents make?

I am appreciative of the fortune and luck I have already experienced throughout my life. Why should a higher institution suppress my opportunities and ambitions? I do not target my anger at one particular being and body- I blame society at a whole. I blame society for expressing their discontent with American education, and then being apathetic about a solution. I blame society for esteeming the next generation, but then withdrawing their support for said generation. But, I believe that my society can fix these problems. I believe that I can overcome these financial and mental obstacles and continue to educate myself. And especially, I believe that the inequality in education I see today will soon be overcome by those tired and worn by the unnecessary disparity in society today.