As I researched, observed and analyzed the factors that drive poverty and consequently limit victims’ ability to leave a successful life, I felt committed to using every means within my control to expose what goes on in our society that either intentionally or unintentionally contribute to predictable lack of success that often limits certain segment of our society from leaving successful lives.
Why did we fail to provide equal opportunity for all in terms of education, job opportunity, promotion at workplaces, and fair loan for a mortgage to all our citizens? Why should one’s zip code determine the quality of education one gets while politicians continue to debate settled issues such as poverty and discrimination and how those contribute and in some cases determine what kind of life one leaves? Why do we discriminate, and can we prevent it now and in the future?
We cannot solve the problem of inequity and discrimination by denying that it exists. The problem of inequity in our society stems from one issue- lack of adequate education for all. Research shows that those who get a quality education are not as likely to be poor or severely affected as those who don’t. This problem that begins quite early, some begin in elementary school and progressively increase as one goes through higher educational contour. In fact, one problem helps to create another one, it’s like a snowball, and it magnifies with time.
In fact, lack of adequate education gives birth to other issues, such as lack of meaningful family supporting jobs, extended consequences to children along with sustained overt and covert inequity in our society.
It all starts with early childhood, research shows that woman in the poor neighborhood tends to disproportionately represented in poor communities. Their poverty affects their lives in terms of stress stemming from the pressure and anxiety they can’t divorce from their lives. The pressure associated with inequity driven by poverty-stricken neighborhood, their partners usually subjected to unbelievable discriminatory practices via our criminal justice system among others, cumulatively induce a high-level anxiety. The anxiety by extension impacts their children. These children are under severe pressure and anxiety their mothers usually suffer and the same by extension affects their preparation in school.
As these children come to school, on day one, they are put in a class with people who were disproportionately prepared for the class which they had no preparation, are put in class as if they were equally prepared. So, from day one, they are already disadvantaged. The achievement gap people talk about in their third grade had actually started at birth and continued until they started with testing.
What’s going on? Well, what is going on is that the children of the poor had parents who are poor and those parents usually don’t have the quality education to help put their children on the right trajectory for academic success. Their communities are by and large poor, usually, they don’t have library or parent who could nurture them academically.
In some cases, when they come to school, unprepared, they may be lucky to get a caring teacher who understands them and willing to help. In such situation, the teacher puts extra effort to meet the learners in their location in the learning continuum, and then help them move to the desired location in the learning continuum.
For others, who may be as unlucky, in spite of their circumstances, they still may have teachers with misconception that they are not wired for academic success. Therefore, upon arrival at their school, these children are faced with another problem, this time, it could potentially be a grave one, and that is, they are faced with teachers whose perception of them is that of failure. These are people who had been indoctrinated since their early childhood to believe that minorities have intellectual deficiency that would prevent them from doing well regardless of what they do.