The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Working Class and Poor Children are Still Left Behind

May 4, 2009

A new nation-wide study shows an enormous gap in graduation rates between city schools and suburban schools. The average difference found in the study was around 20%, which is already huge. But in some systems the gap was double.

In Cleveland and Baltimore, for example, only 40% of students entering high school graduate, compared with 80% in those cities’ suburbs.

For decades, children in the more prosperous suburban areas of the U.S. have had a better education than those in big city school systems or in rural areas.

This is not an accident. Funding in the schools is organized in such a way that the suburban systems almost always have more money than the central cities – and also more money than rural schools.

What does more money mean? It means class sizes can be smaller, schools can have more books and equipment. It means schools can pay higher wages and more benefits to more qualified teachers. So it is not surprising that more of these students graduate.

The No Child Left Behind program does not remove all these disadvantages from education because it doesn’t give additional funding to the schools that need it most. In fact, the program is doing quite the opposite. It takes away federal funding from these schools.

Children in wealthier areas get more education, while the children of workers and poor get less – this, according to the wealthy who benefit, is “democracy in action.”