In 2013, the U.S reached a milestone in education. That was the first time majority of students in public schools-51 percent to be precise- fell below the threshold of the federal government as “low income”, that means those schools were now eligible, after so many years, for a subsidized or free school lunch.
This is not something that was achieved overnight; compiled data from the Southern Education Foundation purported that the percentage of public school students in America who are seen as low income has been on the increase for so many years since this data was tracked right from 1989. Crossing the 50% mark, though might be a symbolic move, also means that there is an increased challenge of teaching low-income children and this challenge can no longer be swept under the carpet. The central public schools in America now have a responsibility ahead of them to make sure that low income schools and students survive.
From the look of things, responsibility is what we are running away from. According to data gathered by the Department of Education in the U.S., there has not been a shrink of the gap in eight-grade math and reading exam scores between that of the low-income students and their wealthier peers on the other side. Also, the gap between the wealthier and the poor fourth-grade students have narrowed, though not by a significant amount, but’s is something to look out for. These disparities are increasing right from the basic level to the highest educational levels.
The disparities between test scores and other educational figures are growing day in day out. Though the national education policy that is embodied in the No Child Left Behind law of the former president, George W. Bush and that of the Race to the Top program by president Barack Obama, things are still not improving as expected, though the future is optimistic.
The ongoing national debates on how to make sure that these gaps are closed as soon as possible, and whether they are capable of being closed at all, is not left to a particular group or institution or to the government alone. Education-based non-governmental organizations as well as individual educators across the length and breadth of the country are aware of how children are struggling and how these disparities weigh on the future of the nation’s future leaders. This group is working in their own ways to make sure that a good course is charted for the benefit of the future leaders of the country.
It is not, however, easy for those individuals and single institutions who are equally planning a course for the betterment of the poor. There are a lot of obstacles to face right from financial to social to political and bureaucratic. The problem is not just those challenges, but the mechanisms that are backing this child adversity and leads to this financial disparity is not yet grasped very well.
We should all continue to help in charting a good course that will ensure that these disparities are taken care of as soon as possible. The earlier the better. We can’t afford to produce future leaders in these conditions, and there is no excuse we can give as citizens of our mother land.