Underfunded Schools and the Disempowerment of Poor Youth of Color
Civil rights lawyer and scholar, Dr. Michelle Alexander, who recently lectured at PCC in an attempt to shine light on the emergence of a new system of oppression of poor people of color in America over the past 30 years. This system of oppression begins with the failing of schools in poor communities of color and it often ends in state and federal penitentiaries. Dr. Alexander pointed out, as did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in 1968 , the simultaneous existence of the two very different Americas. One America, as “is beautiful for situation” and “children grow up in the sunlight of opportunity” because they have basic physical needs met for healthy bodies and quality education to feed their minds and guide them to the path that leads to prosperity (King). In the other America, which often exists in poor urban neighborhoods of color, the presence of opportunity looks drastically different. In this America, poor children of color often face severe substandard living conditions only to be shuffled through devastatingly underfunded, unequal, and overcrowded public educational institutions . These institutions chronically fail at providing students with the basic education necessary to even graduate high school (Waiting for Superman) . As a result, poor students of color enter the working world with substantially fewer skills, lowering opportunities to exceed more than minimum wage employment . Educational inequality and the severe underfunding of schools in poor communities of color, systematically disempower youth and lock them into a cycle of poverty. Most public schools receive funding from local property taxes. Public schools in impoverished areas are severely underfunded because of the lower property value in poorer neighborhoods. Lower property value makes for lower property tax, and lower property taxes translate into lower public school funding. Schools in poor areas suffer greatly...
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