Saturday, June 21, 2008

creating inequality

In addition to her usual school budget this year, Bryant Elementary School principal Linda Robinson will have nearly $200,000 to spend on student field trips, library materials, instrumental music and artists-in-residence.

The school's Parent Teacher Student Association raised the money in a seemingly endless string of bake sales, pledge drives and other fundraisers — a common phenomenon in schools in middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods.

The geography of poverty map shown on the homepage transfers of course to the school. Jonathan Kozal, in his book Savage Inequalities argues that the funding or lack of is social Darwinism, creating a permanent underclass of children who are educated just enough to enter into low paying manufacturing jobs, which disappear overseas daily. On the other hand we have schools like Bryant in Seattle, who raise HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars in fundraisers to create extra programs to further their children along. FYI: there is a correlation btw participation in music programs and children's performance in math and science.

So how do we level the playing field? Do we give scholarships to students who have a gpa over 2.0, who are eligible for free or reduced lunch like they are doing here in Washington state? But to get into a good school your gpa has to be 3+ and have lots of extra curricular stuff in it too. so what if you school doesn't have these opportunities? The cycle of poverty is ruthless for some: there is no way out no matter what they try there is some barrier, but nobody wants to spend the money to break those barriers down.

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