|The following is a quote from the US Department of Education blog: “America is built on principles of equality and opportunity for all. In education, that means all our students deserve fair and equal access to strong academic programs, great teachers, new technology, and appropriate facilities, no matter where they live. Those values motivate committed educators and their partner organizations throughout this country.”
“Yet today, not every child in America gets a fair shot at success, including equal access to educational resources. Many students in high poverty districts are short-changed. Often, their peers in low poverty districts receive more per-pupil funding, and that translates to more resources, more opportunities, and better access to effective teaching.”
How can it be so well known that poverty students have less access to educational resources than their wealthier peers – and they come to school with greater needs – physical, emotional, social, and academic – and with learning gaps? Yet, nothing changes. Often the school facilities for poverty students lack the athletics, fine arts, and libraries found in other wealthier schools. The Title One school at which I worked had one gym – other schools within the district had two – and the sound system in our gym did not work! We had two small fields for our gym and athletics classes – all other schools (9 others) had a track and field, most with bleachers – we had none! The theater lights and sound system were not equal to other schools within the district. Our numbers for band and orchestra grew under the guidance of great instructors – but we did not have enough instruments so students had to share. The need for extra teachers to decrease class sizes and provide real-time intervention during learning (not after failure), counselors that can provide social emotional support and mentoring must be differentiated under a different staffing plan that other wealthier schools. Technology must be provided as poor students will not BYOD – bring your own device!
We KNOW about the inequity in our schools – and yes we BELIEVE all children should have equal access – but we continue to provide resources, facilities and staffing that shortchanges our poverty students.