Thursday, September 24, 2015

Self Government and Education .... Knowledge Is the Great Equalizer ... Educational Differences are the Biggest Contributors to Income Inequality

A well informed and knowledgeable citizenry are the foundational underpinnings of a healthy and well functioning democracy. And since We the People are in charge, it's incumbent on us to be able to make informed governance choices on behalf of ourselves and future generations of Americans.

Accordingly, my long held view is that widespread societal knowledge is so critical to the self governing process that delegating American educational outcomes to the sole or even primary control of the government paid educators is a huge and ongoing mistake.

One constant reminder from our 'leaders' is that greater income equality is an American goal. Yet we are NOT constantly reminded by those same 'leaders' that reaching that goal will only result from the attainment of more equal educational outcomes. Income levels and educational achievement very much go together. Their attainment is mutually supportive.

So what do we need to do to make that goal America's future reality?

Is making college free the answer? No, it's not.

Then how about school vouchers and giving parents and their kids the freedom to choose how to pursue their own version of educational excellence? That gets my vote. How about you?

Education Gap Between Rich and Poor Is Growing Wider offers a discouraging outlook on all this and reports that the biggest challenges confronting American education now involve economic disparities as opposed to racial differences:

"The wounds of segregation were still raw in the 1970s. With only rare exceptions, African-American children had nowhere near the same educational opportunities as whites.

The civil rights movement, school desegregation and the War on Poverty helped bring a measure of equity to the playing field. Today, despite some setbacks along the way, racial disparities in education have narrowed significantly. By 2012, the test-score deficit of black 9-, 13- and 17-year-olds in reading and math had been reduced as much as 50 percent compared with what it was 30 to 40 years before.

Achievements like these breathe hope into our belief in the Land of Opportunity. They build trust in education as a leveling force powering economic mobility. . . .
For all the progress in improving educational outcomes among African-American children, the achievement gaps between more affluent and less privileged children is wider than ever .... Racial disparities are still a stain on American society, but they are no longer the main divider. Today the biggest threat to the American dream is class.

 {NOTE: The challenges facing American companies and workers today are global in nature. Accordingly, the right to receive a solid education is more important than ever.

Working hard to level the playing field for all Americans is a fundamental prerequisite of a free and fair society, and its attainment requires the active support, involvement and ongoing encouragement of all concerned Americans.

Our governing authorities, educators and parents all talk a good game, but We the People need to insist that the required remedial action steps are taken to convert that talk into action.

In other words, we must behave in a smart, hard and together way.

Vouchers are a big part of the answer.

Only then will we win the global game.}

And yet American higher education is increasingly the preserve of the elite. The sons and daughters of college-educated parents are more than twice as likely to go to college as the children of high school graduates and seven times as likely as those of high school dropouts. . . .
The problem, of course, doesn't start in college. . . .

A new book titled “Too Many Children Left Behind” . . . traces the story of America’s educational disparities across the life cycle of its children, from the day they enter kindergarten to eighth grade.

Their story goes sour very early, and it gets worse as it goes along. On the day they start kindergarten, children from families of low socioeconomic status are already more than a year behind the children of college graduates in their grasp of both reading and math.

And despite the efforts deployed by the American public education system, nine years later the achievement gap, on average, will have widened by somewhere from one-half to two-thirds.

Even the best performers from disadvantaged backgrounds, who enter kindergarten reading as well as the smartest rich kids, fall behind over the course of their schooling.

When they enter the public education system, they are shortchanged again. . . .

This is arguably education’s biggest problem. Narrowing proficiency gaps that emerge way before college would probably do more to increase the nation’s college graduation rate than offering universal community college, easier terms on student loans or more financial aid.

If we could equalize achievement from age zero to 14, that would go a long way toward closing the college enrollment and completion gaps. . . .
Fifty years ago, the black-white proficiency gap was one and a half to two times as large as the gap between a child from a family at the top 90th percentile of the income distribution and a child from a family at the 10th percentile, according to Professor Reardon at Stanford. Today, the proficiency gap between the poor and the rich is nearly twice as large as that between black and white children.

In other words, even as one achievement gap narrowed, another opened wide. That kind of progress could dash one’s hope in the leveling power of education."
Summing Up

In a well functioning self governing democracy, getting a solid education is the responsibility of everyone.

Educational differences are the greatest contributors to income inequality among Americans.

Our educational rankings and outcomes are falling farther behind each year when compared to other countries.

One cold, hard and cruel fact of life in today's America is that we don't value education as much as we should and must.

And another cold, hard and cruel fact of life in today's America is that we too often abdicate our role as parents and citizens to the 'leaders' of an ineffective and government run school system.

By the time the typical American child has reached the age of 14, the educational differences between a poor child and an affluent child are going to impact each of them quite differently for the rest of their lives.

We don't need to hear all the happy political campaign talk about free college.

Instead we need to talk about equalizing the educational opportunities of all American children, beginning at birth and continuing right through their teenage years and beyond.

But that's not something that the teachers unions, the politicians or far too many of our nation's parents want to discuss.

How we will change that, I know not, but I do know that for the sake of future generations and the well being of America, change it we must.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

No comments:

Post a Comment