Due to the lack of federal funding teachers have been forced to use money out of their own pockets to purchase basic supplies for their class to provide a suitable education for the students. Even the President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten states, “There is no other job I know of where the workers subsidize what should be a cost borne by an employer as a necessary ingredient of the job”. Injustice in education is prominent in our kindergarten through twelfth-grade schools today. Studies have shown that lower-income school districts don’t get sufficient federal funding. In these poorer districts, teachers are not paid enough, making it hard to attract experienced, highly qualified teachers. Moreover, the teachers that are hired are also not provided enough money to purchase supplies for the class. We need better school funding for disadvantaged areas so these injustices in education will cease to exist.
Funding for public schools comes from the state and national government. According to brookings.edu, a nonprofit public policy organization, Title I is a federal program that pushes for funding for disadvantaged students, but the amount provided by this program is very low. Also, brookings.edu states, “Title I is spending about $500 to $600 per student… Education spending was $12,400 a year per student in 2013, which means from the federal perspective, Title I amounts to about 5 percent more per student than would otherwise have been spent.” This lack in federal funding causes the students to be affected by the result of their school having less money.
Less experienced teachers
School districts with fewer funds than other school districts are unable to pay for the most experienced teachers at their schools. In their brief “Beginning Teachers Are More Common in Rural, High-Poverty, and Racially Diverse Schools,” Gagnon and Mattingly state, “Poor communities have moderately higher percentages of beginning teachers than communities with lower poverty rates. Districts in the highest quartile of poverty have an average of 11.0 percent beginning teachers compared with an average of 8.4 percent for districts in the lowest quartile of poverty.” In “Targets of Racism”, an excerpt from the American School Board Journal, a student who transferred from a school in Los Angeles, Dwight said that, “Some kids would curse out the teacher, but the teacher didn’t do anything…Teachers should put their foot down; it would make a difference”(Murray). Inexperienced teachers struggle to know how to control a class because they have not experienced a situation like what they are faced with. Another way students are directly affected is when teachers are unprepared for what they are supposed to be teaching. If schools had the funding to pay experienced teachers higher salaries, then more experienced teachers would be willing to teach at these schools.
Lack of resources
Due to the lack of funding, some schools have an insufficient amount supplies for their students. These resources include basic pencils, paper, textbooks, chairs, desks, and much more. In an interview with CNN, Sarah Jane Scarberry, an English teacher at Heavener High School in eastern Oklahoma, Scarberry reports her 25 textbooks are not only crumbling and outdated but also have to be shared in a class of 70 students. In an article in The New York Times, Nicole Amato, another English teacher who now teaches 10th grade at Pritzker College Prep, a Charter Schools in Chicago, reports, “This might seem like a trivial frustration, but at my previous school I had to pay out-of-pocket for items like tissues, hand sanitizer and dry-erase markers. I was also only allowed a certain number of photocopies each semester. If I ran out of copies, I had to pay for more.” Lack of basic supplies being provided to students has become the new normal for many teachers. This way of teaching has caused the results of a survey performed by the Department of Education to show that, “Ninety-four percent of U.S. public school teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies without reimbursement…”. Also declared by the department’s National Center for Education Statistics, “Teachers in the 2014-15 school year on average spent $479 out of their own pockets on such supplies as chalk, pencils and construction paper, while about 7 percent spent more than $1,000…”. These results prove that funding in school districts is so insufficient that teachers are forced to use their own money to provide their students with a suitable education. In the interview “Inside City Hall: Campbell Brown & Keoni Wright Discuss Teacher Tenure” the topic of sufficient classroom resources is discussed. Keoni Wright a parent in New York, who has two daughters in the same grade with two different teachers, found that his daughters experienced differences in their schooling. One of his daughter’s teachers used her own money to buy materials so she had the right resources to help the class. The material included books and homework assignments. The other daughter’s teacher could not buy supplies and had little material for the class. Wright had to use the material from the one teacher to help his other daughter so she would not fall behind. This shows that teachers are in desperate need for more funding so they do not need to fork up money from their own pockets to make sure their students learn. If there is better federal funding, teachers would be able to provide the supplies their classes needs and would not have to purchase them with their own money.
Education needs to be fair to all students. Better funding for schools is the way to solve the injustices in the classroom. If there can be more funding provided in the Title I program, especially in poorer school districts, experienced teachers can be hired and given the supplies they need to help their students move forward in life.
Murray, Carolyn B., and Reginald M. Clark. “Targets of Racism.” American School Board Journal, Jun. 1990, pp. 22-24. SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.
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