All Children Deserve a Decent Education
April 04, 2003, 2:00am

President Bush’s plans for Iraq include rebuilding Iraqi schools …
but what about American schools?

Why can’t we provide better education to our young people?

With all of the wealth in this country, why do we have schools in
low-income neighborhoods that are overcrowded, lack accredited teachers
and even lack basic supplies?

The entire basis for the “capitalist dream” – the idea that you can
come from nothing and achieve success if you just work hard enough
– depends on all children receiving a decent education and starting
from an equal playing field. But according to statistics from the
National Department of Education, our educational system is far from
fair. High-income high-school graduates are two times as likely as
middle-income graduates and four times as likely as low-income graduates
to receive an education that would qualify them for a four-year college.
One in five schools in this country is overcrowded, with overcrowding
more likely to occur in schools with over 50% minority population.

Some outspoken leaders have gone so far as to suggest that the educational
system for poor people and minorities is purposely kept inadequate
in order to maintain the power of the upper-class. This theory holds
that if all people were given an equal education, there would be more
upward mobility and the upper classes wouldn’t be able to maintain
their lock on power. An undereducated population is also less likely
to question the mainstream media and the government, and more likely
to accept easy answers over a more complicated truth. Therefore, it
is in the best interest of those in power to not provide a decent
education for the lower classes.

Whether or not poor education for the lower classes is a conscious
decision, it is certainly the result of the policies that the Republicans
are implementing. As I wrote about months ago, the Bush administration
has continued to cut education funding from Bush’s own “No Child Left
Behind Act,” specifically funding targeted to low-income schools.
Furthermore, the policies that have led to budget problems at the
state level have now translated into enormous cuts in education spending
by states struggling to balance their budgets.