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Initial Issue Post

Natalie J's picture

While there are many important issues in urban education, perhaps the most pressing one is poverty and its effects on education inequality. Inequality in school funding based on property taxes and other class-based factors creates a system in which students who live in poorer areas receive fewer educational resources at their schools. Additionally, the fact that wealthier families can afford tutors and enriching after school activities while students from poorer families may have to work just to help support their families is also harmful, making it extremely difficult for students living in poverty to achieve academic success at the same rate as their wealthier peers, even if they are at least as smart and motivated.

It is nearly impossible to analyze poverty in urban America without acknowledging the role that race plays in creating this inequality. It is an unfortunate reality that in this country class lines largely coincide with race, putting people of color at a disadvantage socioeconomically and in terms of access to educational resources. Given the extent of current racial segregation, it is no surprise that some schools will have far more students of color than others and these schools will likely receive less funding. This is not an acceptable way for our education system to operate and I think there is a need to restructure this system in such a way that students receive a more equal chance at a quality education.


jccohen's picture


You make good points here about the central importance of poverty and school funding, and the connection of these with race.  This is a large and complex arena of issues; is there an aspect of this that you'd like to pursue further for the issue paper?