Let’s start off this post with a cartoon:
This cartoon brilliantly illustrates two points about the American Educational System:
1) Treating every student the same does not create an equal playing field,
2) bridging the Opportunity Gap doesn’t require a change from students, but a change from the educational system itself.
The Penguin and the Fish
Expecting a penguin and a fish to climb a tree is just as a preposterous as thinking that treating every child the same creates equal opportunity. Fun fact: it doesn’t, it actually does the opposite. Treating every student the same doesn’t factor in the amount of Cultural Capital every child brings into the classroom. Bluntly stated, if you don’t help the children who are already behind, you are subscribing to a front row seat to their failure. Students who aren’t given the extra help they need will most likely fall behind, while their counterparts will succeed because they can keep up with the material that is being taught. Treating every student the same will only reinforce the already unequal education practices the U.S. already has in place.
What Needs to Change?
On that grim note, there is hope. In order for real change to occur in our biased and unequal education system, change needs to come from the top. The educational institution itself must change in order for all students to have the same opportunities as their neighbor. Although I fully recognize that what I’m stating is much easier said than done, if America wants to truly offer the American dream to every American, our educational institution has to change.
If you want to help students who are behind in school both in the U.S. and abroad, check out these two projects: TAF (Technology Access Foundation) is helping close the digital divide for students who don’t have access to computers and the internet. If you want to help globally, check out our project that is helping students in India get an education they deserve. If you want to support any other of Jolkona’s projects, check out Give Together.