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Initial Issue Post

Juanita St. Thomas-Grimes's picture

The many inequalities that underlie much of the social structure of the country have severely impacted the urban education system. I think the most pressing issue that affects schools is funding problems based in poverty. The lack of funding in these high-risk areas and schools only exacerbates the overall issues that plague urban schools. By not having sufficient funding children are at a higher risk to be without properly trained teachers, have little to no access to a nurse, and often do not have any access to a counselor. The children in these schools are at a big disadvantage because of the lack of funding in these school districts which then perpetuates a system that only begets more inequality and children lost to the system. These schools have a smaller tax bracket and so their future is seemingly less bright than others' because their schools are less than what should be their right. I believe that unequal funding is something that should be explored further given that its implications are wide reaching and damaging. Without some sort of meaningful address to this deficit, public schools as they are managed in these cities will only see more "failure" which is not only hurting the students but the future of the country as well.


jccohen's picture

Juanita St. Tho...

I'm struck by the specifics you point to as a "high risk" consequence of unequal and insufficient funding for urban schools:  "a higher risk to be without properly trained teachers, have little to no access to a nurse, and often do not have any access to a counselor."  While insufficient funds deplete urban schools along many lines, you focus on the adults students should be able to look to for support in the school setting.  As you suggest, nurses and counselors may well be in short supply, meaning that students don't have them available at all or when and to the degree needed to maintain health, receive support toward their future options, etc.  In terms of teachers, the lower tax base in urban areas often means that suburban districts offer teachers considerably higher salaries, not to mention working conditions.  Later in the semester we'll read and talk more about the recruitment and retention of urban teachers, including the issue of salary. 

On another note, the question of how to address funding inequities more broadly is indeed at the heart of the matter, and has political, economic, legal, and sociological dimensions, as we've begun to unravel...