SA/TO Down South: Education by Mirah Gordon

Ilana Williams/ March 30, 2016/ SA/TO, Swizzle

  Education is not something we think about much. It comes as easily as breathing or blinking and to many of us, it’s something we’ve never had to worry about, and often complain about. I feel fortunate that I’ve had access to a wonderful education in my life, as I’m sure many people reading this also have, but now close your eyes and imagine something. Imagine a brother and sister who have to sit outside of their school for hours every night just to use wifi so they can complete their homework. These people have no broadband at home and have to rely on school wifi as homework advances and becomes more centered on electronic connection. And the scary thing about this, is that it’s taking place right next to us too, it’s happening here in Texas and the US. However, the real issue that presents itself here is that education is as much of a necessity as clean water or access to food. Only with education can we help others move out of their situation and create a new start.


  I feel as though there is a stigma that only in underdeveloped and poor countries is education failing and kids are being kept from school to work, but this happens everywhere. While there are many positives that go along with the US education, and much growth has been made to keep progress going in the past few years, there are also many downsides, and many children who continue to slip farther behind in school due to incorporation of new ways to teach, such as technology. I want to highlight a few main problems that I’ve found throughout research so we can all realize how our education is most likely above the national average.


  Firstly, circling back to integrating technology, which has become increasingly prominent in schools across the country, as access to such innovations are also farther reaching. The one issue is that not everyone has access to new technology, or what many of us would call basic needs, like wifi. Returning to my example from before, this highlights two real children who are put in the position of needing the internet to do homework, but not having enough money to afford access at home, and can only afford to share one smartphone. Not only is this a terrible thing in of itself, but it disproportionately affects low income, often hispanic or african american families, which ends up perpetuating the wealth gap and a large gap in fair and universal education, that must be available to all people, without drawbacks.


  Secondly, budget cuts and school closure all throughout the country. This problem has three main components, which all go hand in hand with each other; namely school closure, stagnant school spending, and school overcrowding. Now, nobody except the government has much control over which money goes to schools and how much of it and that sort of thing, but for the past few years, spending in schools has been cut drastically, and even school districts in Philadelphia allocated no money in their budget in 2015 for textbooks! It’s crazy to think that the Department of Education cuts its spending, when all it should be focusing on is educating children in the United States, and making sure this level of education gets delivered fairly. Furthermore, school overcrowding is not much better than a lack of school, as teachers are often not given enough resources to deal with an excess of children and attention to children cannot be evenly spread throughout the classroom. This also influences the gap in schools, as children who can afford to drive farther to other, less crowded schools, do so, but many children are reliant on neighborhood schools, and have to deal with overcrowding as part of their daily routine.


  This article presented a lot of problems with education, and I realize, not many positive aspects, and also not many solutions. The conclusion, and the main point I’m trying to make is that next time you dread school or want to complain maybe think twice. This issue may not affect you personally, but being informed is half the battle as is taking action, and action on these issues start with all of you, because we are the ones who can make change for the future. Additionally, there are countless programs, in every single city within SWUSY that would allow volunteering to help underprivileged children succeed in school and start creating a brighter future today. Education must be a staple for everybody, and even though it’s often something we may forget from time to time, it’s something that we need to think about too.