Oct. 30, 2016
Dear Mr./Madam President,
I absolutely abhor not being offered the same opportunities as others when it comes to my education. It is MY education, and I want the best I can get. I want a good career that I enjoy, and I cannot obtain a decent career without a good education. I am indignant at the thought that some people get a better education than I do. Many parents have the same opinion on this subject, including a father of two, Secretary Arne Duncan who described a set of educational rights that should belong to every family in America in a speech at the National PTA Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now, if you were to ask any caring parent whether they prefer their child to participate in a good school district rather than bad, most, if not all, would choose the prior option. Yet the problem is, not all parents get to choose. Unfortunately, this is quite common in America’s public education systems today. The issue of unequal educational opportunities is a widespread and relentless topic that needs to be solved. This matter cannot simply be left to the Department of Education as it will not be changed for the sake that they refuse to take action. “Nationally, high-poverty districts spend 15.6 percent less per student than low-poverty districts do, according to U.S. Department of Education.” (http://www.ed.gov/) This issue of unequal opportunities in education needs to gain federal attention in order for change to occur. Elementary, middle school, high school, and college students from disadvantaged backgrounds (low-income households/minority groups) are often discriminated against by other students and many teachers due to their skin color, off-brand clothes as well as their grades. Their needs of being supported, and receiving help, are often neglected, and they have been left to compete with their peers who might have access to private tutors, extra support classes, parents who are free to help them with homework or provide other parental aid.
The problem also arises at a young age. Often minority students are given lower educational expectations than their white peers. They are expected to perform at "lower levels" just because they were born a different color or into a poor family. According to a poll done in 2012 at Stanford University done by professor Juan Williams, "White people think that black people are less intelligent. They think they’re less trustworthy, less patriotic." These students might live in the inner cities and poverty stricken areas of town but, segregation has been long over; though, according to Pew Research, data shows that non-white racial groups are often grouped separately in specific neighborhoods. Examples in Michigan include Detroit, Pontiac, and Dearborn. This gives students who are living in these areas obstacles, including tuition, paying for school supplies, and fighting discrimination. These are obstacles in their education that they need to get through because they don’t have access to the extra support services. U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan described the funding that American school districts receive as “fundamentally separate and unequal,” To a secondary extent, this comparison is similar to the same doctrine that allowed segregation and racist practices to be established as a backdoor to the fourteenth amendment. No matter what laws have been established, there has always been a backdoor with education, and that is with low-income and minority students. These students are not placed into good schools sometimes solely based on that fact.
This unequal opportunity is not only limited to race; it affects students through class levels as well. In a report by the Hechinger Report, “Up to 40 percent of low-income students who are accepted to college in the spring never make it to the first day of class in the fall.” This is not solely due to the cost of college tuition; this is due to lack of resources. Some may argue it’s because of the lack of these student's motivation, but why would the statistics say otherwise? Another argument that critics propose is that the new curriculum of Common Core is being implemented; therefore this should be reducing the disparity of the subjects that students learn.
Now, imagine you are a student sitting in your first college class ever, next to classmates who are miles ahead of you in their curriculum, even though you both have the same intellectual abilities. Then, due to your utter feelings of being lost, you decide to drop out of college. In essence, that student could be any of us who are the minority or low-income students, because of the learning opportunities we received in high school.
As the next President of the United States, you must be in the fight to end these discriminatory institutional education practices that are occurring. Otherwise, it will result in grave consequences and negatively affect the next generations. The United States of America should be a nation that provides everyone the same educational opportunities. America is known as the land of opportunity, yet not all of us get the same opportunities. We can put together our ideas and find a solution that works in the long term and that reduces the negative impact it will have on our future citizens. This issue of unequal educational opportunities cannot be changed without your attention and action.