The Privilege of Education

I’ve been rethinking one of my earliest childhood crushes because one of my first loves, Aunt Becky (Lori Loughlin) is in the news for something other than Fuller House this week, and it shines a harsh light on one of the stark realities of this country: in a system that already favors the wealthy, the wealthy are still using their advantages and largesse to put a thumb or entire hand on the scale.

I was lucky enough to be granted scholarships to some of the more exclusive private schools in the nation, and until I started down that track from sixth grade on, I was in the Public School system, so I’ve seen both halves. Having seen the kind of institutions the wealthy can make for themselves and their own when they insulate and build private institutions only makes the injustice of seeing public schools literally crumbling all the more harrowing.

Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 9.21.27 AMThis American Life did a pair of shows ages ago, The Problem We All Live With Part One and Part Two on education in America. When you hear about opposition to marginal tax rates for the wealthy? Support of Public School vouchers? That’s the wealthy trying as much as possible to insulate themselves, and that insulation accomplishes two things: one, it maintains that their money disproportionately benefits their kids and only their kids at the expense of other students, and it maintains an unfair advantage of access and resources that lower income families do not have.

This shouldn’t be a radical statement, but given the status quo it unfortunately is: Every child should have access to the same quality education, full stop. Every single child would be attending the same public schools based on district that were fairly funded so we were truly raising up the best and brightest by providing equal opportunities and resources per capita. It’s fantastic that some parents can provide access to these exclusive institutions for their children, but even if they’re going to insulate socially, there should be a civic system whereby their taxes still ensure their neighbors and other community members aren’t left behind.

It’s unfortunately not as integral a stump point as it should be, but believe me when I say that for every candidate in this crowded 2020 election field I’ll be digging into their stance on federal funding for public education. You should too, because here’s something that’s so profoundly true that I’m willing to do the unheard of and end a post with a cliche: children are our future, and the state of education in this country is the most telling sign of the unfair advantages the wealthy already have, and that apparently still aren’t enough for some like Loughlin who had to game that system even further.

Author: Y. Balloo

Amateur novelist / Work in progress.

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