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The Right to Quality Education in the US and Elsewhere- Just for the Rich?

Updated on August 16, 2011

The prevailing standards in the educational system today inherently favor those who are socially, culturally and economically advantaged. Claiming that the government has done all that it could to improve the educational system is letting the authority evade the responsibility of maintaining a competitive and a stimulating environment in schools and universities that all students are entitled to. Fairness in selection criteria and better training for teachers is what is needed to improve the educational system.

It is imperative to realize that equity is as important as maintaining high academic standards in schools. While the proponents of the ‘star system’ play down equity as merely a form of political correctness, claim that inclusion and fairness move in opposing directions, nothing could be further from the truth. The government needs to ensure that background factors such as gender, race and socio-economic factors are never the criteria for student admissions and that all students are given a chance to experience successful education, regardless of their perceived mental prowess.

The Rich-poor Education Gap (click to enlarge)
The Rich-poor Education Gap (click to enlarge)

Public Institutions in the US

Researchers have noticed that government run institutions, which the authorities claim to be at the fore front of providing quality education to all without discrimination, account for about 80% of the segregation and practice greater selectivity in their admission practices. Instead of letting these educational institutes evolve into independent trusts which run the risk of further aggravating the segregation problem, the government will need to take concrete steps minimize corruption among its operatives and monitor the admission process with scrutiny to prevent young pupils falling victim to social segregation.

Exhaustive training for teachers in another issue government needs to focus on if it ever plans to improve deteriorating academic environment. Teachers with practical experience in their fields of expertise should be given as much priority as educators with degrees. The achievement gap between the children of the rich and the poor is growing deeper by the generation due to the educational failure and very few of them have the necessary skills to survive in the highly competitive job market. Better equipped teachers will directly contribute to the challenge of raising the education standards and meet the basic academic standards.

In conclusion, there’s a long way ahead for the authorities before a highly integrated educational system realized which caters to the educational needs to both the well-off and the disadvantaged. It is imperative that the achievement gap between the rich and the poor is decreased in interest of a better future.

What are your views on public education, particularly in the US (or the UK) ?


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    • ksarasara profile image

      ksarasara 6 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      Good point. I also believe that you get what you put into your education (at any level and setting). There is much we can learn from private institutions (after all, they are in competition and, therefore must improve in order to compete), particularly that which we have control over. We don't have control over the selectivity of private schools, but we (as members of a public institution) do have control over the standards we uphold and the execution of teaching for all students. One other factor that plays into the growing achievement gap is cultural rifts between the rich and poor. It's been my experience that, more often than not, academic failure is directly attributed to the lack of proper parental support in a child's success at school.

      Agreed: thanks for the hub. I love the debate!

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      I couldn't agree more, all countries would benefit tremendously if they made sure top notch education was available and accessible for all kids. This would eradicate problems with poverty and unemployment, not to mention crime. Great hub, thanks for sharing...

    • stunnercold profile image

      stunnercold 6 years ago from Dubai

      Thanks for the comment ksarasara. I agree political correctness is playing a very intrusive role in the design of academics for educators. The real concern is the growing gap in academic qualifications between the rich and the poor. Think about it, almost every ivy league school is a private institution. Only the very rich or the extremely bright get in!

    • ksarasara profile image

      ksarasara 6 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      It is true that teacher education could be more rigorous. I earned my Bachelors in Secondary of Education in 2010 and I found that some subjects were covered well (such as developmental psychology and content subjects), some too much ("diversity" education), and some - arguably the most important - not well enough (data analysis and ethics). Of course, my credits included practicums in public schools, but overall, I felt like my professional education was designed to address political correctness and to appease government and school board members rather than to sculpt true educators with practical skill sets.

      I agree that public schools are, in general, far too political, but some corruption lies IN the school - not just in government. Additionally, I find that making students the victim of socio-economic gaps is only a detriment to their potential success.