Equal funding for public schools

Equal funding for public schools

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lyd halcott started this petition to Lydia Halcott

Racist housing policies were in place when the housing market was first created, and this led to the creation of all of the neighborhoods around us. Redlining was the act of denying services directly, or through raising prices severely, to residents of certain areas based on the racial or ethnic composition of those areas. By touching lightly on this subject as to not go too in depth with this subject (because by doing so, I could write a novel) I will just briefly outline it. Real estate agents and policies in the housing acts made it to where white people could live in neighborhoods with more businesses/better neighborhoods. And people of color were systematically placed into neighborhoods that were seen as less-desirable, away from businesses, worse properties, etc. A direct result of these racist policies; the different neighborhoods became distinct reflections of the classes of those who lived in them. Flash forward to now, where property taxes are heavily involved in providing the funding for public schools, the places and cities where there are worse properties, and poorer people directly relate back to the racist housing policies we had in the beginning.

In a way that many deem unconstitutional, how public schools get funding is by local property tax. The federal government provides  about 8 to 9 percent of school budgets nationally, but most of it is through programs including Head Start, and free and reduced lunch programs. States and local governments split the rest, though the method differs depending on the state. Semuels, in her article, outlines the effects of this faulty system:

Nationally, high-poverty districts spend 15.6 percent less per student than low-poverty districts do, according to U.S. Department of Education. Lower spending can irreparably damage a child’s future, especially for kids from poor families. A 20 percent increase in per-pupil spending a year for poor children can lead to an additional year of completed education, 25 percent higher earnings, and a 20-percentage point reduction in the incidence of poverty in adulthood, according to a paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

By having this knowledge, literally knowing that we spend more money on the education of rich children than we do on the education of poorer children, how can we just keep doing the same exact thing we are doing now? We know who needs the help and we are not giving it to them. Education should not, and can not, for the sake of the future of the world, be something we allow to be gained from privilege. The system we have in place now causes a domino effect. Where lower-funded schools are not up to par with the standard of education, counselling, behavior, and resources as they should be. These schools are producing pupils who are not ready for the next level of education, and who- because they have been exposed to poor schooling with lower-paid teachers who aren’t as invested in their learning, who haven’t been exposed to the resources they need, and who have literally been put onto the back burner of the list of priorities- just will not care.

This ties into racism effortlessly. In an article published by Top Masters in Education, “Separate and Unequal: School Funding in ‘Post-racial’ America”, they highlight the fact that people of color are the ones suffering the most from this defective structure:

Levels of both race and class-based separation have increased since the Civil Rights Act. In 2015, separation more often appears class-based, and in 2014, disparities between high and low funded public schools led South Carolina’s Supreme Court to decry its own poor, majority-minority districts as “educational ghettos,” or substandard by the Department of Education’s guidelines. Even worse: in supermajority-minority public schools–schools where students of color make up 90 percent or more of the student population–the number of Black and Latino students in attendance increased 4.9% and 14.2%, respectively, between 1980 and 2009. In 2005, 88 percent of supermajority-minority schools were associated with levels of poverty characteristic of educational ghettos, which was not the case for White-dominated schools.

By blatantly laying out the actual numbers, schools where minorities make up the majority, they are receiving less funding. This is not a coincidence. At this point, schools that are mostly non-white are seen as an “educational ghetto”, and when schools are mostly white, education levels and funding are both higher. This shows the roots in racism and classism that plays a huge role in the funding of out public school systems.

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