When Martin Luther King walked down the streets of Alabama advocating for equal rights, who knew that 50 years later the United States would still be facing segregation especially in the education system?
In the state of Connecticut, there is a wide education gap. Those who receive what is considered a quality education tend to be white, and they tend to come from families with more money.
Funding plays a major role in a schools’ performance and in the state of Connecticut, there is a major gap between what cities receive for funding education. Lawmakers have proposed plans that will essentially take money from wealthier towns and give it to poorer school systems. This plan seems helpful considering how desperately funding is needed for poor school systems.
But while money is prevalent, generosity is not.
Black and other minorities make up a large majority of the population in several counties in Connecticut, including New Haven and Hartford counties, and schools in those counties have poor educational outcomes. The students do not get presented with the resources that wealthier American students get – up-to-date textbooks, a functioning athletics department, an arts program or even a nutritional lunch program.
These factors and more play a role in a students’ performance. Between 2011-2015, Black or African American students had the highest suspension and expulsion rates of any other race or ethnicity.
If a student is not in school, that student is not learning. There are many factors that cause a student to misbehave and coming from a poor home and entering a school where their educational needs are not met will have an effect on that student’s education, and perhaps their behavior, as well.
Why does any of this matter? Disparities in education have long-term effects. How far will these students go? Will they pursue a higher education, obtain a degree or other certifications and enter a high-paying career? Without a high school diploma, none of this is possible and these students end up at the start of the cycle – back into neighborhoods with the same school systems that are failing them and will ultimately fail their children.
If wealthier counties are unwilling to render services to school children in need, then how can we close this education gap? And what if this trend continues? Well, hello, 1965.
By Kayra Clouden