Why we should worry about educating underprivileged children

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By Tressa Eckermann, Senior Staff Writer

We hear horror stories about kids who graduate high school and can’t read. They aren’t equipped with the skills they need for college, let alone the means to pay for it. But do we really think about money in reference to how much is spent on educating our youth? Not only that, but specifically on educating the underprivileged youth?

The New York Times recently published an article titled, “Is it a Priority to Teach the Poor?” The author, Pamela Burdman, makes an interesting point. Parents spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on private schooling, or on homes in better neighborhoods so their children can attend better public schools. But, “at the same time, money alone will not cure all the ills of public education,” Burdman says.

While I see nothing wrong with seeking the best educational opportunities for your children, whether that be private education or a nicer neighborhood, isn’t there disconnect there?

What about the people who can’t afford to do those things? What about the people who can’t afford these opportunities, no matter what they do? Do they just get left in the dust?

The answer is, sadly, yes. They become the forgotten children who struggle through school systems that can barely afford to keep their doors open, let alone provide a proper education to a child who is metaphorically drowning in a sea that’s not equipped to provide what they truly need. These are the children who will barely scrape by. Resources should be used to educate all children, not just the children whose families can afford it.

At the end of the day, the children in the private schools are not going to be the only ones in society. We should be concerned with what it means not to educate the children whose families can’t afford private school.

In a time when most people worry about the economy, no one stops to think that the very people who could be saving our economy one day are being forgotten in worn-down high schools or fighting to stay afloat paying off student loans.

Money isn’t the only problem. It’s how that money is spent. Its disbursement and allocation can be inappropriate and thoughtless. So, even if there is a program that helps children in underprivileged schools, there are often so many potholes that it might as well not be there at all.

But maybe, like most things, something is always better than nothing. Maybe that’s the thought that we need to take away from this. Something needs to be done. Because doing nothing won’t get these children anywhere.

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