Disparity Between Schools

Friday, October 29, 2010

This is sponsored post from Welch's Healthy Harvest but the opinions are entirely my own.

Are you watching School Pride? I just caught up on the first two episodes and I am horrified. And embarrassed. I know educators need help updating their classroom materials, keeping arts programs and keeping their quality teachers from moving to other districts. I also know that, when it comes to urban versus suburban and socioeconomic factors, there are huge disparities as to where money goes and how much certain districts get.

When we bought our house it was a compromise and, to me, a little bit of a sacrifice. We chose a fixer-upper condo in a nice area over a detached house somewhere else. We paid a little too much. The area we live in is kind of expensive in general. But, we wanted to be in this part of the city for the schools. That was criteria number one. We know we made the right choice. 

We've been very happy overall with Tyler's school. The students have a computer lab as well as computers in the classrooms. They still have PE class. The library is well stocked. The lunch program is better than most. The kids get to grow and eat things from the science garden. Our Halloween carnival? Looked like a county fair. We have on-site before and after care for working parents. I know how lucky we are.

But I'm embarrassed that I didn't really know how bad some of our nation's schools are. When I thought of the kind of conditions some kids were attempting to learn in I pictured run down buildings, no buses, no after school programs and not enough sports equipment. I was not picturing mice, rats, roaches, no paper towels or hand soap, playgrounds overrun with gopher holes, mold and general decay. Knowing our school has so much when others have so little makes me feel a little pampered, if that makes sense.

It was ironic that, while I was watching the show, someone I follow on Twitter mentioned that she was at her child's school earlier in the day and got to see all the kids working on their own iPads. The School Pride host was asking a junior high student how they play basketball with only one deflated ball and a broken backboard while someone else's first graders have their own iPads. Incredible. 

Well, my eyes have definitely been opened. I'll be paying more attention to legislation that effects schools and helping promote companies and causes that offer schools opportunities to apply for things that will enrich their student's educational experience like Welch's Harvest Grants program. I'm not quite ready to join the PTO but I'll definitely be looking at how our school uses its funds.

Singer John Legend was quoted recently as saying the state of education "is the Civil Rights movement of our time." If the first episodes of School Pride are any indication of what we can expect to see, I think he's absolutely right.


-From now until February 11, 2011, schools can apply for one of 100 grants to start their own garden. 
-Five schools will receive $1000 and 95 will receive $500. 
-Grants will include seeds and tools.
Pass on the information to your teachers and administrators!

*I am being compensated for this post but the opinions on the state of schools and the incredulity and disgust that some children have to try to learn with roaches at their feet is all mine. Photo credit belongs to me.


  1. I will never forget Open House night for my oldest son's 2nd grade class. The teacher stood up there and, in telling us about her background, she started choking up thinking about the school she left behind in the southern part of our county. She said the differentiation in classroom supplies/conditions & parental participation just broke her heart. So rather than having a Wish List of things she wanted for HER classroom in Carmel Valley - she put together a Wish List for us to full fill for her to donate to the classroom in south county that she had left. I thought that was brilliant!
    The disparities are stark - and they can exist just within a few miles of each other.

  2. You need to read Jonathan Kozol--you will truly have your eyes opened. The system is so unfair.

  3. @Christina - That's such a fabulous story!

    @Jenn - I will check him out though I'm sure it will make my blood boil! :D

  4. Every time someone speaks from knowledge, it is heartening to hear; and it is also great when I (or anyone else) can see what poverty REALLY is, instead of retaining that old comforting notion that it is 'quaint' and means only that one is "closer to one's roots" or alternatively too lazy to try. Poverty is an agonizing grind of making the best choice where there are NO good options (The choice the mother - the LOVING mother - faced in the film "Doubt" is analogous) - or of not knowing where the good choices are to be found. As you reconize, YOU had choices that meant difficulty shouldered when taking the better option - many, many good people don't have this option. I have thought, since I saw it, that the best possible training film for people who will be teaching or working with children of the very poor is the entire 4th season of the TV show "The Wire" which dealt with not only the schools and neighborhoods, but the home situations, of four wonderfully engaging children. I agree totally that education is the real civil rights issue of the current era - and perhaps it always was. It was, after all, the integration of schools, not of the lunch counters or Montgomery buses that gave rise to the greatest violence in the 60s, a demonstration that both sides knew where equality was to be won or lost.

  5. If you are royal or have a enough money,then you can get your child's schooling from a good school,however if you are a poor or middle class,then surely you would be enable to bring a nice education for your child. The sense is that money matters a lot. Schools are nothing but a business now a days. More money more facilities,less money less facilities. Mostly Government run schools are in very bad condition,while privet schools are in good condition.


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