I can’t lie that I don’t know the first steps toward advocating our education to be more equitable. I can only point out the weaknesses in the school system, much like anybody else. We can examine the government to see how it affects each branch (one that usually leads to another) that is under it. We can very much look at education, much like other sectors of our society, to analyze the weaknesses in our government. We have a flawed education system that is reflected from our flawed government. Capitalism seeps into every aspect of our lives, in each industry. Sadly, education is considered as an industry in the United States. Education cannot be equitable when a government treats it as a money-making venture. We need legislators to see it as a human right – as important as food, clean water, shelter, and healthcare. Knowledge is a tool to achieve a higher standard of living, not just for the individual but for the community as well.
Professor Carla Shedd in the “Change Series: Making Education More Equitable”, stated students (K-12) depend on schools for food, escaping from an abusive home or the streets. Not every student has a stable internet connection or access to a computer. Not every student lives in the right environment to attend classes. How can students learn while dealing with these external factors? We can observe the influenza pandemic from 1918 to 1919 in the US. Most K-12 public schools were closed late, usually in the second wave of the pandemic. According to Health Affairs, contagious diseases affecting children ending up with school dismissals occurred at multiple points throughout US history. Moreover, they were a reaction to the community’s outrage – not as a preventative public health measure.
We were widely unprepared for a pandemic. That much is obvious. The CUNY system was one of the few institutions that took immediate action to convert classes virtually. Board members focused on the safety of students and faculty. The lockdown occurred in March, which would be in the middle of the Spring semester for college students in the U.S. The administration of CUNY institutions opened its virtual doors to continue providing an education for its students. However, the much-needed facilities and resources are not available at this moment. Few countries spends money and time bracing for a worldwide pandemic. However, disaster can strike anytime and anywhere. We can then observe how each country handled the outbreak and the deficiencies in our systems.
A government that represses its people to gain more knowledge is corrupt. It wants to keep people from learning that things can be better, that there is always a possibility for a brighter future. If we have leaders who stop its people from entering that future, the people will revolt and the system will inevitably collapse on itself. One of the great quotes from Paul Kriwaczek perfectly summarizes this notion from his book ‘Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization’ “Assyria soon discovered a painful truth: empires are like Ponzi schemes: financial frauds in which previous investors are paid returns out of new investors’ deposits. The costs of holding imperial territory can only be underwritten by loot and tribute extracted by constant new conquests; empires must continue to expand if they are not to collapse.” We, as the human race, has never changed – the way we think, live and feel – the things we involve with just changed. We can observe past civilizations to learn from our past mistakes. But, we don’t.
Davidson, Cathy N., et al. CHANGE: Making Education More Equitable 2020. Facebook, 30 Sept. 2020, 7:30 p.m., https://www.facebook.com/135093656546988/videos/335678294308825. Accessed 30 September 2020.
Kriwaczek, Paul. Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization. Atlantic Books, 2010.
Stern, Alexandra M., et al. ”Closing The Schools: Lessons From The 1919-19 U.S. Influenza Pandemic.” Health Affairs, vol. 28, no. supplement 1. Web Exclusives, doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.28.6.w1066.