Savage Inequalities and an Issue of Equal Oppurtunities for Education

Published: 2021-09-11 02:10:09
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As a society, we struggle to be above all other societies, but how can we do this if we are not offering the chance for every mind to achieve greatness? There is no study that says that a certain race or social class will give rise to prodigious minds. Yet, society appears to assume that such a study exists as it provides different opportunities for each social class and race. Although equal education cannot be established without restricting some and weighing down others, our society should strive to provide each child an equal opportunity for their education, so that they may have the freedom to choose. In order to become such a society, we must educate the ignorant of the oppression they have created and furthermore strive for equity so that there is an equality of educational opportunity for all.
In Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities, one student articulated “If you equalize the money, someone’s got to be short changed… do we want everyone to get a mediocre education” (156). Society cannot establish something as ideal as equal education for that would limit those who wish to learn more and burden those who wish to only know what is necessary. However, it would be shortsighted to say that students who are given the opportunity for better education would not value it (1991 Kozol). Perhaps students who have gone through years of, what Paulo Freire terms, banking education, being treated as an object rather than a human, would have a harder time with an education that values them as humans (2000 Freire). In reality, as seen from Kozol’s travels, children of poor backgrounds also have dreams of going to college and pursuing a higher education; it seems almost a pity that such bright students are given less simply for the color of their skin or the social class they live in (1991 Kozol). Nevertheless, some would argue that if everyone were given an equal opportunity for education then there would be no one to do the laborious, backbreaking jobs. However, this is a faulty argument because even if students are given the opportunity for education not everybody would pursue such an opportunity. Society is tasked with providing each child the chance to learn more, not necessarily to make each child take the chance for that is the freedom of choice for each child.To provide an equal opportunity for education to each child, society must guarantee equity for all and understand that “equal funding for unequal needs is not equity” (1991 Kozol 66). To give students anything rather than to give them what is needed will not allow the students to flourish within their school environment. An example of equality over equity can be seen when two high schools were given an equal number of computers, but only one school needed the computers whereas the other required new buildings and restructuring; therefore, only one school truly benefitted (1991 Kozol). To create equal opportunity there must be equity for all that will in turn naturally become equality. At first the process may be seen as a liability for society since such an effort would be quite costly and timely, but the overall outcome would be a more educated society. If even the lower class is well-educated, then we will become closer to overcoming all other societies. Therefore, it is our duty to bestow the essentials needed by children to prosper in school for the sake of building our society into the best society.
Though it is quite simple to theorize methods of fixing this imbalance of opportunities in our society, for this imbalance to be solved we must let everyone within the society realize the existence of this imbalance. We are not necessarily in an extreme cycle of oppression as Freire details, but we are nonetheless still in a form of oppression. If there is no dialog between those who choose to remain ignorant and those who cannot articulate their sufferings, then this cycle of oppression cannot be broken. Kozol tries to initiate dialog by writing from the standpoint of the oppressed who, according to Kozol, are the children who do not have the freedom to exercise their rights to equal education (1991 Kozol). They are fundamentally forced to go to schools that have less opportunity and vigor that will in the end put them in a lower ground than children who are given brighter prospects. This oppression is ignored by many for why should they care if it is not their child who is oppressed. However, they do not realize as Freire says in Pedagogy of the Oppressed if they are not the oppressed then they are the oppressors. To be an oppressor is to deny one’s humanity, thus by choosing to ignore this oppression the people, in turn, are stripping their children of their humanity. However, contrary to what Freire says, to break from this cycle of oppression we must open the eyes of the oppressors to this oppression. For as Kozol found, children in poorer environments are already aware of the situation they are in, but they still hold hope that society will not fail them (1991 Kozol). Hence, we must let the oppressors see that their action of protecting their children are not only harming their children by shredding their humanity but also destroying the hopes and dreams of other children. Once the oppressors realize the consequences of their actions, then together both the oppressed and oppressors can strive to implement methods to ensure equity that will one day fix the imbalance of opportunities for the children.
Society should strive to give each child an equal opportunity for his or her education. However, we struggle to achieve this equality because the oppressed voice their opinions but the oppressors do not wish to hear of the oppression. If we can open the ears of the oppressors and let them hear the cries of the oppressed, then we will be closer to becoming an ideal society. For once dialogue is initiated, the breaking of the cycle of oppression can begin (2000 Freire). Once the oppressors have become educated of the oppression, together as a society we can try to give equity to children of all race and social class. Though it will take time and money to pursue this cause, in the end our society will benefit greatly from this and become one of the greatest societies. But this can only occur if we maintain the effort to bring equal opportunity of education to everyone.

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