Equality in Today's Schools

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Michelle Yelencovich
EDU 601
Final Paper
December 18, 2000

In this class, we have struggled to evaluate the current educational system in order to determine if significant social issues, including increasing regional poverty, and declining literacy rates in specific urban regions are related to economic differentiations in the education system. Because of recent studies, some have considered the issue of educational funding allotments in order to determine a system that provides greater equity between socioeconomically disadvantaged inner-city schools and wealthier suburban, middle class schools. This funding issue has been addressed a number of times. It has been recognized that the foundation for the necessary funding changes have stemmed from the recognition that school funding differences relate directly to sociological issues, including the creation of a cycle of poverty and illiteracy in under funded urban settings.

One of the most significant issues raised in public education in recent years is the radical difference that exists in funding levels between wealth and poor school districts (Zuckman 749). Many states have allotted educational funding related to tax revenues, and this has determined a higher level of educational spending in wealthy neighborhoods and a much lower level of spending for inner-city poor and rural poor communities (Zuckman 749). Because of this focus, a number of states have considered and implemented plans for the equalization of school funding, but this has not come without considerable opposition (Zuckman 749). Though individuals in low-income neighborhoods areas have defined this equalization as a positive process for improving urban schools, wealthier suburban populations have complained that this will take away funding necessary to maintain programs that are already in place (Zuckman 749).

In class, we have argued that the differences in these educational settings have had a direct impact on the outcomes for students. Because a positive educational setting is a direct indicator of the capacity of a person to develop into a productive citizen, it has been determined that only with sufficient funding can public schools offer the educational process necessary to determine positive outcomes. Funding for elementary schools and public schools in general, is shifting from the federal level, to the state, county and city level, resulting in a need to consider the process by which funds are directed and integrated into public education.

The complications with this shift in funding are defined as: "A fundamental trade-off between equity and efficiency objectives in the provision of public education [that] underlies the political tensions inherent in altering school funding responsibilities" (Duncombe and Johnston 145). Unfortunately, money determines political action in America, and politicians fight hard at both the local and national level for the increasingly scarce education dollars. Unfortunately, poverty seems to be breed societal problems, and the children and public schools of these poor districts need this education funding in order to break this cycle of poverty and societal problems.

In order to understand the basic social issues that stem from this perspective, it is necessary to consider the foundations of education and the need for an integrated view of the social structure of schools to find a direction for change. According to Griffith (53), the most important relationships within the educational design are "relations among school structure, school population composition, parent involvement, and parent perceptions of school safety, school climate, the school facility, the helpfulness of school staff, the academic instruction, teacher-student relationships, and student recognition" (53). As a result, the call for change requires acknowledgment of the basic perceptions of a variety of individuals in order to reflect the greatest complicity in implementing...
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