From Pre-K On, US Schools Privilege the Already Privileged

Ulen, Eisa Nefertari

Publisher:  Truthout
Date Written:  04/04/2019
Year Published:  2019  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX23593

The college bribery admissions scandal is only the extreme end of the inequality in the education system. Public policies, such as school funding based on property values, disadvantage children in low-income communities starting as early as pre-K.




While an incredulous disdain for traditions like legacy admissions and use of large donations to literally buy a child's way into elite schools has occupied much of the public discourse, too little attention has been given to the public policies that disadvantage children in low-income communities starting as early as pre-K. Wealthier families able to afford the private cost of making their children's college applications sing - with money spent on tutors, travel and enrichment like music lessons and technology camps - are often already ahead in their public dollars, too, as they receive more spending per student in the neighborhood schools their children attend. Lower-income families are marginalized years before their children take the PSATs because of inequities in school funding that reduce government per-child investment in their learning....

Emily Stutts is a special education teacher who knows the difference every dollar can make. She currently teaches at Compass Charter School in Brooklyn, New York, but has also taught at public schools in Manhattan and in Pinetown, North Carolina. At Compass, where per-student spending is higher than the school where she taught in North Carolina, Stutts said students benefit from having two teachers in every classroom, better curricular resources, and material resources which, Stutts said, "teachers can use across subjects and particularly for inquiry-based learning that integrates arts, sustainability and student interests." Stutts said that at Compass, there is "an abundance of books for classrooms and the shared library." Better funding also pays for better professional development for teachers.
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