While President Obama has priorities to forward education reform for the nation as a whole, it’s refreshing to know that he has not forgotten the people who supported him the most: the African-American community. Last Wednesday, he was able to talk to a black audience in a ballroom at the Sheraton New York Hotel at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. He called attention to an issue that has been at the forefront of the education debate for years: how to close the achievement gap between African-American students and those of other races.
“Too many of our kids are dropping out of schools. That’s not a white, black, or brown problem. That’s everybody’s problem,” the President was heard saying. While school dropout rates are considered a national problem, the groups that are the primary subjects of such disaster are mainly the poor. To go further, although it is mainly inner-city youth (i.e., African-Americans and Hispanics), there are a significant amount of poor whites who end up falling into this category.
Race might not be the primary factor when it comes to the inequality of education, but economic status is, and, more often than not, it ends up coinciding with the issue of race. Therefore, since both controversial entities tend to parallel, wouldn’t that be more of a reason to level the playing field, as far as equal opportunity is concerned? That would mean placing tax cuts upon wealthier districts to ease the burden of the middle class’s struggle to get their children prepared for college. It would also mean reversing the damaging No Child Left Behind Act, which leveled cuts toward schools that didn’t perform well altogether. Rather, what should be done is finding out why those schools are failing and figuring out what can be done to solve those problems. Thus, the achievement gap between the races (and economic statuses) can be shrunk, and each younger generation has a chance to receive a quality education. This future is within arm’s reach… It would take complete Republican control of both government branches to completely seal off the tunnel with that light.