Dear Future President,
My name is Emma Lohmeier and I am currently a senior high school student at Clarkston High School, in Clarkston, Michigan. I am very fortunate to be a student in my high school, for the reason that my high school is in a well off area, therefore it is an environment that I have the ability to grow and strive to be the best that I can be. In my school I have the resources to learn all that I can in order to prepare for college and study to get a job that I’ve wanted to have ever sense I was a little girl: a teacher.
It’s my dream to be in charge of my own elementary classroom and help the students learn necessary information in order for them to be successful later in life. I have heard from previous teachers the phrase “You’re lucky to have a school like this”, but I never really understood it until I took a class called “Teacher Education” and learned about the conditions schools are in inner cities as well as rural towns. More specifically, poor schools from poor districts.
There has always been a line separating the rich and the poor; that is not new news. Neither is the harsh conditions of schools in poor districts, although I find it suspicious that I never knew about just how bad the schools in Chicago and St. Louis until I read the book “Savage Inequalities” by Jonathan Kozol. These school districts are suffering, yet no one is doing anything about it. In the documentary “Waiting for Superman”, it is made clear that it was up to the citizens of the town to do something about the schools, which was virtually impossible for them as there was no money in the town. This is shocking and unacceptable
Think of the name of our country: “The United States of America”. Our country has something that no other country in the world has: united states. Our country is supposed to be united through thick and thin. Our country is supposed to be equal in every state. Our country is supposed to have a government that bends over backwards to ensure that our country stays together. This ideal is so important that it’s in the name of our country. If it wasn’t important, if it wasn’t vital to our country we would not have put “United States” in our name. That being said, schooling is not just a state issue; it’s a national issue. Every child has to have some sort of schooling, no matter the race, sex, religion, or social class. So why must a child be doomed to be in a school where the sewage leaks from the ceiling, the teachers refuse to do a good job due to pay cuts, and terrifying threats loom outside, just waiting for the kids to get out? More importantly, why isn’t anybody doing anything about it?
The national government seems to be sticking their noses up to the problem. The poor cities affected are forced to deal with the problem by themselves, which they physically cannot do. You can’t tell someone to pay for something if they have no money. As Kozal states blatantly in “Savage Inequalities”, “Placing the burden on the individual to break down doors in finding better education for a child is attractive to conservatives because it reaffirms their faith in individual ambition and autonomy. But to ask an individual to break down doors that we have chained and bolted in advance of his arrival is unfair.” It’s obvious that these towns can’t fix the problem all by themselves--if they could, the schools would be fixed.
Many different approaches to this situation could improve things drastically. After all, the schools can do nothing but go up from where they are right now. One of the biggest issues I see that could be easily fixed is teacher wages. It is shocking how some people who do very little get paid more than teachers. It goes back to the age old idea that if we distributed money based on necessity garbage men would be paid more than CEOs. Teachers are extremely important to our society, especially to the seventy-three million children in America. The average amount that at teacher earns is about forty-three thousand a year, which is on the low spectrum. Some may argue that teachers get many vacations, plus summer off, and that they don’t work weekends, but all of that “rest time” is paid back in being with children eight hours a day, and having to control and teach them alone, usually with no help. Being a teacher is hard, really hard, and the summers off does not diminish the amount of work that is needed in creating a classroom filled with smart children.
Another idea would be to set a universal health code in terms of the physical condition of the schools. If the government would spend some money in maintaining the conditions of all public schools in America, that would help exponentially. It’s horrific how terrible the conditions some inner city schools are right now in America. Holes decorate the walls, allowing disgusting rats near the children. Black mold is a recurring theme in each classroom. Some schools don’t even have working bathrooms, or only one toilet in the whole school works. I won’t say that it’s the government's responsibility to make every public school spick and span--no, that would cause more problems than needed. However, it is simply a necessity to do something to these broken down schools. If kids are forced to attend--which most of them are-- they should have a clean and safe environment. At least and environment that allows them to go to the bathroom. Worded like that it seems like a simple request, doesn’t it? Well guess what? It’s not the wording. The request is as simple as it can be; it doesn’t need my help to reword it in a way that could sound simpler. What I, as long as many others, ask is for a school that meets the health code standards other institutions have. Is that so much to ask?