Saturday, December 27, 2008


Education is deemed the civil right battle of our era. There have been freedom fighters that have fought long and hard for the rights (not privileges) that we are able to benefit from today. Now I think that education is the civil rights battle of our time. We were created equal in society but there are many disparities in today's society more specifically between the urban communities and suburban communities. Malcolm X talks about classicm being one of the ills that plague our society. It is clearly evident in education. But is the poor education in inner cities systematic or does the blame fall upon the parents, the kid, and the community. Public school education in the inner city is despicable compared to public school education in the outskirts of the city. The only reason why the suburbs have a higher quality of education and more resources is because the property tax that pays for the education is higher. Does this mean that if you are poor you do not deserve a right to a decent if not excellent education??? A decent education is a right not a privilege. This is a big flaw in the educational infrastructure of the US.

My story is that I was blessed with parents that understood the value of education. They cared enough to put me in a Catholic school that was better than the surrounding schools in terms of discipline and small class size. These are two important components that public schools lack can make a big difference as far as teaching students efficiently. Not to say that if you attend a public school you cannot succeed, but the odds are lower if you are not presented with the right opportunities. I know plenty of kids that have done fine and graduated from public schools in the NYC. But these kids are unique cases because they had motivation, parents that supported them. There is also a selective population that was presented with unique opportunities such as being able to participate in gateway programs such as college bound. These programs that helped you with the college application process, also provided you with the resources to help you excel academically, provided guidance, and most importantly embedded the notion in your mind that you can succeed and that you are worth something!

We all know that there are a lot of negative influences that can tarnish the wholesome upbringing of a child in an lower income neighborhood. There are more temptations and crime in inner city neighborhoods, which should be attributed to society for marginalizing certain groups and not listening to a cries for help. Poverty breeds crime, so as long as certain neighborhoods remain poor there will always be crime. NO opportunities= more crime. The problem of crime which entangles much of our urban youth is another aspect of this multifaceted problem. The likelihood of being incarcerated is higher for a kid that lives in an urban community than one who lives either in a rural or suburban area. This tragic scenario could potentially derail them from obtaining a good education and succeeding in the real world. In a lower income neighborhood if a child's parents drop out of high school, chances are more than likely that their son will drop out of high school and the cycle will repeat itself. There are opportunities out there, but if people are not aware of the opportunities they will remain sedentary, while being oblivious to any opportunities. If someone does not break this cycle the legacy of ignorance will be perpetuated. The vicious cycle will remain the same.

As we see here several factors influence the downfall of lower income neighborhoods due to a lack of education. We need a solution to these multifaceted problems.

But the DOE (Department of Education) has not alloted the proper resources for the public school education system. So is the problem a lack of funding from the government or is it bureaucracy that doesn't allow the DOE to start programs that will ensure academic excellence both inside and outside the classroom. The inaccurate standardized tests are not a true measure of a student's knowledge or intelligence. The schools should get rid of them or change the format and focus on rejiggering the classroom curriculum. Educational inadequacies in lower income neighborhoods has led to poor test scores, low college attendance, and more severely higher incarceration rates. This problem needs to be fixed, but how?

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