LETTER: Inequality is inescapableThis truth unfortunately applies to many impoverished children in our public schools.
This truth unfortunately applies to many impoverished children in our public schools. City-data.com reports that 23.5 percent of Superior children live below the poverty level, which is much higher than the state average of 16.3 percent. These statistics alone are quite alarming, but Helen Ladd, professor of Public Policy at Duke University states: “Study after study has demonstrated that children from disadvantaged households perform less well in school on average than those from more advantaged households.”
For as long as I can remember, we have been told that education, particularly a college education, is the key to moving up the economic ladder. We, as Americans, tend to believe in the idea of a “self-made man,” but in today’s society, this idea is not attainable for the vast majority of our poor.
If Ladd is correct, many of our 23.5 percent will never attend college and move up the ladder, but instead be trapped in a seemingly endless cycle of poverty. This seems comparable to the particularly un-American caste system, in which socio-economic classes are determined at birth.
We must provide our disadvantaged children the opportunity to achieve success. There have been many ideas put forth by the federal government in the past few decades to solve this problem, most notably the No Child Left Behind Act. These have proven to be ineffective.
In order to affect true change, we must think smaller. The federal government has proven it cannot adequately address the educational needs of low-income students. National standards just don’t work in a country as large and diverse as ours. Instead educational policies must be custom-made to fit the needs of individual communities. State and local government must tackle this issue, as they have a better understanding of their community needs and if those needs are met.
Most importantly, with a local approach in mind, low-income community members have to ability to have their voices heard.
We must allow all of our children the same access to a quality education in order to avoid an American caste system.