Education is not a privilege.
Education is a human right.
Post by Benjamin Rosenblatt, a senior from Brooklyn Technical High School
Let’s start with pre-kindergarten.
Studies have shown that attending pre-kindergarten is extremely beneficial.According to the High/Scope Perry Preschool Project, started in 1968, 70 percent of low-income black children who attended pre-kindergarten eventually graduated from high school, compared to 60 percent of those who did not. Children in pre-kindergarten were more likely to end up with higher IQ’s, more likely to own a home by the age of 27, more likely to have be employed and with higher wages, and less likely to be arrested for violent crimes. Universal public pre-kindergarten is achievable, important, and just plain right. Now let’s go to cost savings. The High/Scope Perry Preschool Project also found that for every $1 invested into pre-kindergarten programs, $8.74 are saved.
Moving to our middle schools and high schools,which have been overtaken by high-stakes standardized testing, states have started to implement the new federal Common Core State Standards Initiative, created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). PARCC has found that half of its member states will actually be paying more for standardized tests after implementing Common Core than they currently do. But what about whether or not Common Core actually works? Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch has noted that there is no evidence that Common Core will work. For example, in New York state, after implementing Common Core, test scores collapsed dramatically. Then there’s the fact that there is no evidence to support the idea that standardizing education, especially on a national level, will improve achievement, enrich education, and prepare young people for the challenges ahead.
Let’s roll back standardization of public schools. Let’s decrease class sizes, get more career teachers in the classroom, get rid of test-based teacher accountability, and provide more money for guidance counselors, arts and humanities courses, physical education and foreign languages, and more classes essential to a real education.
Now let’s look at college.
The big problem here is student loan debt. The amount of total student loan debt incurred in 2003 was about $240 billion. In 2013, it surpassed $1 trillion, and now exceeds both auto debt and credit card debt. College costs are rising at over four times the rate of inflation. In 2012, there were 38.8 million students borrowing money for college and the average student loan balance was $24,803. In 2010, 58% of all student loan debt was held by students from families making less than $8,500 per year. College students and their families have been thrown under the bus. Congress must find ways to make college more affordable and to reduce the burden on American students and their families. We must make a higher education more important and a higher priority than helping the big banks. The lowest interest rate students can find on loans is about 3.8%. What interest rate do the big banks have to pay on their loans? 0.75%. Education cannot be taken over by private corporations in search of money. Pre-kindergarten must be available to all students and families, not just the wealthy ones who can afford it.
Middle schools and high schools must have a well-rounded curriculum, suited to local needs, lower class sizes, and no test-based teacher accountability. College must be more affordable, college graduates should not be slaves to the large banks and corporations from whom they’ve taken their loans for the rest of their lives, and banks should not be paying so much less on their loans than college students.
Education is not a privilege. Education is a human right.
Sources: http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Pre-kindergarten/Pre-Kindergarten http://www.fairtest.org/common-core-assessments-factsheethttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-ravitch/common-core-fallacy_b_3809159.html http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/06/student-loan-debt-charts