Education Could Be The Equalizer for Society: Will Schools Improve Enough?

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Are classrooms failing kids? A lack of education puts our youth at a disadvantage in the job market. Image by kconnors.

Are classrooms failing kids? A lack of education puts our youth at a disadvantage in the job market. Image by kconnors.

Education is imperative in the world in which we live – but is the U.S. educational system failing kids, in more ways than one?

There are few who become success stories without a college degree, and even less without a high school diploma – but for some, the system doesn’t support their efforts to attain even the lowest levels of achievement.

The job market is growing more challenging to navigate, which is becoming more stressful to those seeking a job. For recent college graduates, the  job outlook is increasingly limited, and for a high school graduate, the  job outlook appears hopeless.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics for the U.S Department of Labor states, “The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates not enrolled in school was 34.4 percent, compared with 17.7 percent for recent graduates enrolled in college.”

Welfare vs. Work

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, our government pours resources into many programs to aid families in low-income situations who are attempting to move into middle class status:  “ total amount of money you can make monthly and still receive Welfare-$1000; Total Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than an $8 per hour job-40; Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than a $12 per hour job-7; Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than the average salary of a U.S. Teacher-9.

So many families are working to move into the next economic level one – is it possible to move up in today’s society?

A person identified as suffering in a lower economic status may wonder what are his or her options to move out of poverty. Often, the only options kids hear about are: Professional athlete, professional entertainer, professional musician, and finally formal education.

Students are introduced to education first, but the lack of competent education offered impacts the career outcome of the children; although it represents the greatest chance of long-term success, most kids choose any or all other options before formal education. 

Well-Rounded Education Helps Kids

Kids don’t just get a good education from teachers providing lessons during class sessions, but other factors such as: Environment, resource materials and social supports impact their success. Educators should follow the examples of successful schools, but all to often they do not – and may not even know why they’re failing; school districts that are successful and the school districts that are known failures are often within 20 miles of each other.

In America we often hear a band-aid approach each year from politicians – that they will provide financial assistance to the failing school system, but each year schools continue to disappoint overall.

Failing Schools: Is More Money The Answer?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is increasing the state’s investment into education – in 2013, he said, “And finally, investing the largest amount of state aid to education in New Jersey history — $8.9 billion in this year’s budget, over $1 billion higher than in Fiscal Year 2011.”

One concern is this: What happens when one school is failing and a neighboring school is not? Can we, as leaders and stakeholders for our youth’s future really feel excited for a minor success when it’s compared to so many failures?

So many children are left behind when failing educational institutions receive the funding required, but marginalize the kids through poor planning and execution.

Career Growth for Unemployed and Underemployed Workers

It’s hard to develop a profitable career in America; it’s even harder to develop professionally when the education you were offered was not adequate to your necessary workforce development. Our large underemployed and unemployed demographic must continue to work to improve their career situations, because the alternative is more draining of federal resources – which will affect all Americans, whether we want to care or not.

If the education system doesn’t improve, the cycle of failure will continue.

Resources

Bureau of Labor Statistics. College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2012 High School Graduates. (2013). Accessed September 8, 2013.

Statehouse Bureau Staff. Full text of Chris Christie’s 2013 State of the State address. (2013). New Jersey On-Line. Accessed September 8, 2013.

Statistic Brain. Welfare Statistics. (2012). Accessed September 8, 2013.

Hoff, D. Schools Struggling to Meet Key Goal on Accountability: Number Failing to Make AYP Rises 28 Percent. (2009). Accessed September 8, 2013.

Elizabeth Davidson, Randall Reback, Jonah E. Rockoff, Heather L. Schwartz. Fifty Ways to Leave a Child Behind: Idiosyncrasies and Discrepancies in States’ Implementation of NCLB. (2013). The National Bureau of Economic Research. Accessed September 8, 2013.

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