Equal Opportunity Education
In the September 2008 issue of the BCTF newsletter, the BCTF President talks about being at a Tri National Conference in Defense of Public Education. It was a conference attended by teachers from Canada, US and Mexico in Los Angles. The newsletter states:
The public education system is the US has been fractured by underfunding, overtesting, militarization, and privatization. Rather than providing students with an equal opportunity to succeed, as public education was intended, it serves to reinforce the extreme have-and have-not society the US has become.
“…an equal opportunity to succeed, as public education was intended…” is all very well in theory, but it is definitely not what happens in practice whether in the US or in Canada. Inner city schools are sorely under-funded and lacking in basic resources, schools with low enrollment find themselves in the same predicament as the inner city schools whereas schools with high enrollment find themselves with much more money and are resource heavy. So my child’s quality of education appears to depend on where I live and in what catchment area I am in.
I am not implying that the teachers in any one school, resource poor or resource heavy, are any better or worse than one another. I am saying that if I live in an area where my catchment area is for an inner city school/low enrollment school, then my child will go to a school lacking some very basic resources such as complete sets of textbooks, textbooks for each subject area, enough computers, novel sets in good condition with enough books for each student….But if I live in a catchment area for a high enrollment/wealthy school then my child will have all the needed/prescribed resources, including technology resources. How can it be that in a first world country, we can have this disparity in funding? Why is the funding for each school not equal? How is this just?
Is all fair in education? The haves and the have-nots do not just exist in the US.