The Importance of Equality in Education
In America we have always prided ourselves on the social mobility in our country. People of any and every class have the ability to achieve their dreams–whatever those may be. People first came to America to escape a society in which people were simply born into their position–a status which defined what jobs they could have, who they could marry or even be friends with, where they could live, and most importantly, how much education they got. Today, we like to think that we have eradicated this type of social class structure, and to a large extent we have. Yet, there is still a distressing gap between classes, and a terrible lack of uupward mobility in lower classes. The question is, why? Obviously this is a very complicated problem, but there is one answer that leaps at us immediately: Education.
Education is perhaps the single most important outside influence on our lives–both on a physical level, and a spiritual one.
On a physical level, education is the key to upward social movement. It allows people to go to better colleges, get different and better jobs, and thus better incomes, better houses, and so on. The impact of education on material wealth and social class is undeniable and obvious.
But even more importantly, education teaches us to be curious, and to explore; it gives us a chance to discover ourselves, and see the world in all its vast and magnificent detail, and inspires us to reach and dream. No matter what our family’s ‘social status,’ our education will have a huge impact both on who we are, and the kind of opportunities we will be presented, for our whole lives.
If you doubt me…ask yourself what your life would be like if you hadn’t been taught to read. Think about your own time at school, grade school or college, and ask yourself what your life would be like without any of the things you learned.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to reach for their dreams, and the knowledge to make them into reality.
Unfortunately, education is not equally distributed in our country. Schools in low income areas have lower amounts of funding than the ones in high-income areas. These schools often can’t afford the materials or staff they need; they frequently don’t have the funding they need to create an effective learning experience. As an example, take the Bedford-Stuyvesant New Beginnings Charter School, which was unable to provide its students with a library–until the real-world Dumbledore’s army arrived on the scene!
Education is a right. A very basic one. But it’s not just about going to school. It’s about the schools having good teachers, good programs, classes and material that inspire and instruct, and a library, of course. The HPA has already begun to work towards greater educational equality, by building the Imagine Better Library at the Bedford-Stuyvesant New Beginnings Charter School in New York City. Over the next year, we hope to create more such libraries, inspire more people to become involved and aware of inequality in education, and perhaps even create a whole new school curriculum based around the power of myth.
If you’ve ever been inspired by a teacher, gotten blissfully lost in a library, or simply experienced the ineffable joy of learning, you’ll know why these goals are so important. Check out EqualityFTW.org, and stay tuned for more education-equality campaigns.