When it comes to the talk of educational inequalities, I do not believe that they can be fixed in the short run. I believe that the category of economics needs to be approached first to bring the gap of wealth smaller. This large gap of wealth is what continues to drive students, communities, and educational studies further apart from each other. In the article by Borman and Reimers, they write, “Despite the significant educational expansion of the twentieth century, much inequality is still reproduced across generations in terms of the lower-education chances for the children of the poor.” Education is always achievable in an order and that order is dependent on your income status. The schools and families that are from a lower income community are the last people on a list to receive higher education, any funding, and easy access to having children move on to secondary education and even college. The gap is so far with economics that as a white child, you grow up expecting to go to college and most likely will go to college because money is not an issue. As an African American or Latino, it is not always expected of you to go to college due to finances. Reducing inequalities in education is a tough beginner spot. In my opinion materials are needed to help students thrive in a classroom, but not expensive materials are needed to help a student flourish. By creating comparisons of a student’s home life and what they do in school, this can create a more powerful meaning and relationship between the student and teacher. Basic material goods are necessary in a classroom such as paper, pencils, pens, and a white board/chalkboard for the teacher to present their topics to the classroom. These materials and a few others are completely necessary to help the students, but material goods such as a smart board and projectors to get your point across are not essential goods. These items do back up my point of the economic gap between lower and higher income classrooms. Honestly, if you close the economic gap between low and high income classrooms, then the gap between both communities for education can also be fixed and eventually help all students to advance to the next level.
Approach to Teaching
Education is a tricky matter to handle at times and where to place our focus as educators. Students constantly are asking us questions that we may not always have the answer to help them. Some approaches that I have seen whether it be at my service learning locations or here at some of the classrooms in Peru, there are good approaches to helping children with education and the gap that defines where children lay on the scale. I believe it is important that every student be taught to their full potential, but that can be difficult at times when there are constant setbacks either presented by the school itself, families, or the government. Those are three vague topics that can help classify the approaches to work that does or does not meet the requirements within classroom walls. For teachers to understand a student and learn how to become better educators in the future, we need to create a foundation of trust. As educators, we should be respecting the souls of our students. When you master respecting, then you turn to understanding and finding the deeper meanings and roots of the context in their lives. To work well with a student, we need to acknowledge their individuality because that is how they will flourish and figure out the paths that make them happy and understanding that the raw parts of your life will make you who you are. The use of Ignatian pedagogy and Jesuit Education are impactful in the sense that we need to treat a student as the whole person and consider all parts to themselves. Teachers need to understand a student’s core values and can incorporate that into a classroom. It shouldn’t matter if the teacher knows the material well, but if the teacher doesn’t understand where a student comes from then they won’t get anything out of the class work. The teacher needs to learn from the students to create a more equal understanding and a stronger relationship within the classroom. The students that we soon will take on in our future classroom are someone else’s world and it is our job to treat them well and with respect.
Educational Structures tied with inequality
My fellow educational students and I had the pleasure of visiting an international school in Lima, Peru. My expectations were high considering that it is a new home to about 50% of children from all over the world. There is an abundance of languages spoken, but they all learn Spanish and English. This school was very formal in classroom learning, but the resources that were at their reach created the classrooms to be more vibrant and attainable for all children to learn. There were different styles of chairs that could bounce, rock, spin, etc. to help students who struggle with learning disabilities to find their comfort in the classrooms. This schools’ approach to learning would not be so successful without the help of the resources, the income from the wealthiest families in Peru, and other benefactors moving the school to the very top in all categories. This is an excellent program, but is not attainable for all students, especially the cost of money that continues to turn people away. So, I ask you this. Why is it that brilliant children from low income schools get turned away from a great education program just because they can’t afford the tuition? You would think the school creates more opportunities with scholarships or even more full rides, with less benefits. Currently, they offer just a few students from every year a full ride to attend the school for six years. This full ride includes all meals, transportation, flying for sporting events, and other accessories. An idea would be to cut out the extra expenditures on this full ride because maybe they could donate that money to having more students attend their prestigious primary and secondary school. The issues of inequality stem from the heart of the wealthy. They have ideas and they do pursue to help children go to school, but only a few students. I believe they could be doing more to expand their education by opening more doors and dispersing their donations in new directions. At lower income schools, education is still happening and students are still expanding, but with less resources and less money. Some of these students happen to be brilliant, but, unfortunately, they cannot go further because of money. Education is constantly happening all around us. When you learn a new subject, a new idea, etc., you are expanding your mind to new opportunities and that is learning. Education can be equal in the future, but there are many small steps administrations across the globe need to figure out equal playing fields. When greater opportunities are created then more students can expand their education for more opportunities.