Importance of Child Education and Funding
Kids these days live in a world much different from the one their parents grew up in. While some things have definitely changed for the better, there are still inequalities all around us. This is perhaps most noticeable in schools. The sheer fact that we have both public and private schools, and that which of those two you attend determines how you can move on in life, is enough to show we have inequality. But even within one school, teachers, students and all the staff differentiate between races, genders, religion, and a plethora of other bases. So what can we do to make a better tomorrow where everyone has equal opportunities, no matter their profile?
Let’s touch on a subject that is perhaps the most divisive of all: the socio-economic status of the students. Those whose parents can afford to put them in the “best” schools are put on a fast-track through hardships, as finishing a good school will get you into a good college, and so forth. But even if it weren’t for the school status, kids who are in “rich” schools have access to much better learning tools, from the latest technology to the best crayons. In public schools all over the world, teachers often buy their own supplies for the classroom and work with decades-old equipment. There’s also the matter of class sizes, where public schools often have classes of 40 children with a single teacher, in comparison to Finland’s schools where classes number less than 20 and 99% percent of teenagers can read (versus 80-95% worldwide). This doesn’t give the teacher the opportunity to give each student the individual attention crucial for growth and development. On top of all of this, there is still a massive socio-economic gap associated with different demographics, such as race, citizen status and gender, meaning that unequal opportunities based on economic status also translate to unequal opportunities based on race and community.
What this means for young children
When children are put in boxes from an early age, they develop their personalities within those boxes, and it later becomes hard for them to get out of them. If they come from generations of low-income working class people, and they are treated as “lesser than the rich kids” in school, they will see themselves as someone who is supposed to continue on that path, without a chance to move upward or sideways. They often don’t know about the opportunities such as grants, high school scholarships to Australia given by World Vision, Harding Miller Education Foundation, the Smith Family and many others, including other aids which are open to any child, but are usually only mentioned by the teacher to a specific child in the class. When these kids finish school, they don’t even have the notion of going to college and looking for higher education, because they don’t see that as an option for themselves.
What teachers can do
It’s not impossible for a child from a disadvantaged background to make it in life. In fact, there are systems put in place which are there to help exactly that, but children can’t access them on their own. It’s up to the teachers and supporting staff to help educate the children, as well as their parents, on all of the opportunities and encourage them to pursue higher education. This can be done by teaching children about opportunities that they will have if they complete college and encouraging them to aim for careers that they want, without regards to whether or not that is currently available to them. People in America with college degrees are paid over 70% more than those with only high school diplomas. Another great way to do it is by bringing people who have started where they are and ended up in high places to talk to them about how important education is. Most importantly, teachers mustn’t under any circumstances tell children that they aren’t able to achieve something just because of their background, nor that they are “dreaming too high”. We have to realize that including the parents in this discussion is crucial, because they play a key role in their children’s lives, and they also have to know about the opportunities that are available to their children. If you are a teacher in a mixed classroom where there are children of all backgrounds, there is only one rule to remember: all children are equal and deserve equal opportunity, but some of them need more support from you than others. Children who had college funds set up for them when they were born don’t need the extra push to pursue education, while children whose parents don’t think that education is a necessity need you to be the driving force. We must recognize and acknowledge the inherent inequality in our classrooms so that we can properly address it and empower the kids who need it.
By motivating children to get a higher education – and more importantly, providing the funds for that to become reality – we are not only helping them with their chances in life, but also making sure that we have the best people leading the fields of science, politics, arts and humanities in tomorrow’s world. All children have the potential for great things, but they can’t get there alone, so it’s up to us to make every dream accessible to every child.