Self-Reflective Statement – AmongOthers13

Core Value 1. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.

I did extensive research and discovery during the course of this semester. You can tell from my White Paper 1 that I visited many websites and looked at multiple sources in order to find the ones that best fit my argument. I started off with just 5 sources, and then as each new short argument assignment emerged, I added another 5. Some sources I learned in the end were not exactly the best fit for my paper, but they did offer me insight as to what direction I wanted to take my research. From each source I picked out facts and insights that would suit my paper in a beneficial way to make my writing stronger. Through this research I feel as though I have been able to identify reliable sources with strong backgrounds to develop my writing skills.

Core Value 2. My work demonstrates that I read critically, and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities. 

In my Rebuttal Rewrite argument, I synthesized ideas from two opposing sides and introduced both in a way that made my side of the argument stronger. I was able to analyze the meaning behind the opposing side, and the ideas they had, and tell my readers about them while also defending my side. I made the arguments contrast by doing so, and was able to create an argument that had a lot of depth and information while persuading my reader. I found the rebuttal argument difficult, as it was new to me, but I talked to my professor who helped me distinguish a path I should take to go about my ideas. He was very helpful, and I was very confident after speaking with him that I could conquer this assignment with ease.

Core Value 3. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.

In my Definition Argument I feel as though I had a clear purpose throughout my writing and made arguments that were visible to the reader. I analyzed the purpose of education and how valuable it is. I also discussed how low-income students are suffering from low-income areas and more importantly for my argument, unequally funded schools. I made my best effort to use a lot of sources that talked about the effects these schools have on the students, their success, and their lives. These areas provide the students with the bare minimum, their home lives are not the greatest, and they deal with social-emotional disadvantages as well. I included various sources that all portrayed how detrimental the effects are of low-income schools in this argument to make it clear to my reader that this is  not the way things should be. I tried to really reach out to my readers by using ethos to demonstrate the tolls on the students and how difficult their lives are.

Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.

In my Visual Rewrite assignment, I demonstrated the power of illustrations and evidence to support my ideas and interpretations. I watched a video that had to do with smoking and lung cancer screening, and through my work, I analyzed clip by clip and second by second what was happening in the video, what could be inferred, what could be determined, and the message the ad was trying to spread. I pointed out specific details in the video while giving my interpretations to a full extent. I analyzed the video over and over again to see if there was anything more that I could add. I dug deep into the literal meanings of the video to portray my ideas to the reader so that they, too, could see why my ideas were as so.

Core Value 5. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation. 

In my Causal Rewrite  I respected my responsibility to determine the cause of the achievement gap in schools all around America by discussing a fair reason along with many sources that verify my thinking. I stated that the achievement gap is due to the property tax funding of schools and the amount of money given to the rich community schools versus the poor communities. I made sure in my writing to cite my sources correctly and I used each source to my advantage. I found sources that not only verified my thinking, but offered me more and more information to use in my writings to back up my ideas even further. I took this assignment as my way to point out a distinct problem in our society as well as identify the cause in a confident, mature manner. I am someone who believes strongly in equal education, so this assignment really meant a lot to me and I put a lot of effort into the assignment, as well as my final paper.

 

Visual Rewrite- AmongOthers13

 

0:01-0:02- The camera starts at a long distance away, portraying a large mound and a woman climbing up it. Then, the camera zooms in, and we see a woman is struggling to  climb up what looks to be a large pile cigarettes. There are large mountains of cigarettes behind her as well. Perhaps the creator of this video made it this way to look as though she has already climbed over those, and now she is headed up another. She is trying to accomplish something.  Mountains often symbolize an obstacle someone wants to overcome. Maybe she is trying to quit smoking, or at least to smoke less.

:0:03-0:05- We can now see that the mountain is made up of cigarettes, still fuming with smoke rising into the air.  The cigarettes look full size, almost as if they are taunting the woman into smoking a fresh cigarette. The woman ignores them, however, and is struggling to climb up, but she is progressing. This gives us an idea that maybe the woman has smoked before and now she is trying to overcome it.

0:06-0:10- It opens up with just a shot of the cigarettes themselves. We can infer there must be thousands of cigarettes in just one pile. Are these cigarettes she has smoked in her lifetime? As she tries to climb up her shoe kicks down lots of cigarettes, revealing that the mountain has multiple layers. The clip ends with her hand trying to grasp a hold, but all she gets is a handful of cigarettes.  She is struggling with climbing due to these cigarettes, and perhaps she is struggling to quit smoking as well.

0:12-0:15- The woman’s face looks determined. She looks up, perhaps towards the top of the mountain. Maybe she is close to the top. She pushes herself up more and more with determination and strength. It is taking a lot out of her.

0:16-0:18- The woman can finally stand on top of the mountain. She did it! She turns her face to the camera.

0:19-0:21- The woman looks around at the view from on top of the mountain, and then looks at the camera and smiles. Perhaps this means she has overcome the urge to smoke, for she has just passed up thousands of cigarettes on the way up, has quit, and is looking out on the life she can now live.

0:22-0:25- The camera zooms out gradually as the woman still stands on top, smiling. This shows just how massive of a mountain it really is, or, symbolically speaking, how big of an obstacle she just overcome.

0:26-0:30- A machine is on the screen used for lung scans. The woman can take a lung scan to ensure she is still healthy and not at risk for lung cancer, or she can get screened and realized because she smoked so many cigarettes it is too late to prevent cancer. Either way, this commercial promotes quitting smoking and to start getting lung scans.

Rebuttal Rewrite- AmongOthers13

Although counterintuitive, with property tax funding for public schools emerges a large problem; people want schools to have inequality. It all comes down to this- rich homeowners want to pay for their schools in their neighborhoods, merely because it makes the value of their community increase and makes their area look better than the surrounding regions. The rich families know that they pay a higher property tax rate than the next town, but if this money is going towards a better reputation for them and for their surrounding schools, they are more than happy to give that money up. They know that their schools are better funded, that their students have a higher chance of success, and because of these statements, the homes in the area hold their value. People will want to move to areas where the community’s are elegant, with financially stable schools that acquire more than necessary to implement their children’s success. This is why homeowner’s support the property tax funding of schools. They disregard the condition of the schools in areas of poverty or low-income. These places don’t seem to matter to them at all. They want their schools to be superior, but what they do not realize is that this unequal expenses on schools create the achievement gap as aforementioned. Homeowners want to control the local government and its taxes because it directly benefits their homes, their neighborhoods,and their schools.

An article taken from JSTOR titled “Homevoters, Municipal Corporate Governance, and The Benefit View of The Property Tax,” states that “ The more general issue that homevoting addresses is why school quality has fallen in California and, apparently, in other states that have traveled down a similar path away from local control of school finances.” This shows that states are recognizing this immense gap between student success in contrasting areas, but no one has yet to make an action on this issue. People are hesitant to believe such a gap exists because the test scores are seemingly close in comparison, but what the people do not know is that this is because the highly-funded schools are actually being “dumbed-down” and taught less efficiently than they are supposed to be taught. This makes the people think that the difference between schools in poor and rich areas is simply just the location. But, these rich families are sending their childrens to schools that they think are top of the line, when really, their children are learning at lower, slower levels than they should. The article states, “This is consistent with the findings by several studies that show that greater state fiscal involvement results in less efficient schooling.” Due to these reasons, the quality of schooling is not just decreasing in poor areas, but also in the rich areas as well.

So, what do we do now? Do we add more teachers to the school? The article states that if we do this, the more qualified teachers will be chosen, increasing school quality and the homes around the school. But, what about the extra money the school now needs to pay these teachers? This, in turn, would raise property taxes, which decreases home value. In turn, local voters now have to decide to choose cost-effective schools. The state legislature, however, cannot do the same for the following reasons. States are too large to see the differences between the quality of schools compared to other states. Also, adults that do not have children in school do not want to spend as much as school funding for state level than local level. People that own homes that they can one day sell to another family that does have kids are still interested in the quality of schools and the condition of the surrounding community. The third and final reason centralization causes poor results in schooling is because teacher’s unions replaces homeowners as being the most important group at state level. Although unions raise average spending per student, they make those earnings less sufficient by putting it towards work rules that they cannot acquire at the local level.

An article from The Harvard Gazette written by Christina Pazzanese states that “Your ZIP code and the exact characteristics of your parents seem to matter more,” said Lawrence Katz in an interview discussing the damaging effects of the growing achievement gap. What he means by this is that nowadays it does matter where you are raised and by whom,one parent or two, in a rich community or poor, for these aspects determine your fate. This is an appalling way to look at the achievement gap, but it is sadly true. Katz calls the diversion “The rich and the rest”, implying that it seems to be that if you are not rich, you do not deserve a category, or a name. If you are not rich, you are the “rest”, the people who struggle to get by, who don’t have high quality schools or neighborhoods. Being rich doesn’t necessarily mean who can buy the most expensive things, for it now means being rich determines whether or not you are successful in your future career path or not. This has changed the way young children think, which is perhaps the saddest part of it all. We no longer consider ourselves successful if we are not rich, from high income places, and land a job making over a hundred thousand per year. Our actual intelligence doesn’t even determine our success because of property tax and the achievement gap.

Katz continues to say, “Smart poor kids are less likely to graduate from college now than dumb rich kids. That’s not because of the schools, that’s because of all the advantages that are available to rich kids.” Something has to change if we want to give the youth, the future of America an equal education. Their fates are decided before they can even speak, before they can crawl. The United States education system is truly at its lowest point, and it all derives directly from the way schools are funded.

 

References  

Fischel, W. A. (n.d.). Homevoters, Municipal Corporate Governance,and the Benefit of the Property Tax. doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f

 

The costs of inequality: Increasingly, it’s the rich and the rest. (2017, December 20). Retrieved from https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/02/the-costs-of-inequality-increasingly-its-the-rich-and-the-rest/

Research Position Paper- AmongOthers13

Unequal Education: Yearning for Change

Education is the most vital part of a fulfilled life. Without education, we do not have the sturdy ground base to start building up towards all of the dreams we have ever wanted to reach. With a quality education, we have the power to make our own lives, become who we want to be, and do what we want to do. Everyone is entitled to an education, for it benefits our lives in many ways. As quoted from DW Made for Minds, in an article titled “Knowledge is Power: Why Education Matters”, written by Ute Shaeffer, states that “Education empowers, and education promotes greater participation.” There is no greater truth than this- that education gives us the tools we did not know we needed. However, some students are less successful than others, and it is in no way their fault. “Children in rural areas and in conflict regions have even fewer opportunities to become educated, while girls around the world continue to face disadvantages in education. There is still much to do.” Students today are still trying to overpower those who believe girls do not have the right to an education, or that lower-income places have less-qualified schools. There is, in fact, much to do, as Schaeffer states. Students all over the world are struggling to learn and grow due to the alarming deficit of student success in schools. The main problem is that the impact of the property tax unequal funding of schools is causing an achievement gap. An achievement gap refers to a persistent difference in academic performance or reaching educational goals between different groups of students (in this case, poor and rich). This achievement gap is influencing a decrease in student success all over the world, and even leads to difficulties obtaining a career in the future.

A journal from Stanford Cepa titled “The widening academic achievement gap between the rich and the poor: New evidence and possible explanations”, written by Sean F. Reardon, states that “The achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families is roughly 30 to 40 percent larger among children born in 2001 than among those born twenty-five years earlier.” This means that the achievement gap is growing each and every day, simply because nobody has made any action on the issue. The journal also states that the achievement gap based off of high-income and low-income students today is nearly twice the size of the black-white achievement gap. This is astonishing news, for about fifty years ago, the black-white achievement gap was two times larger than the high-income and low-income students gap. The tables have turned in a dangerous, menacing way. Why has this happened? There are many possible explanations as to why such a detrimental gap has been formed. “The gap appears to have grown at least partly because of an increase in the association between family income and children’s academic achievement for families above the median income level: a given difference in family incomes now corresponds to a 30 to 60 percent larger difference in achievement than it did for children born in the 1970s.” Nowadays, money and where we live determine everything for our futures, even our education. Also, the gap could be so large because of parental investments in cognitive development, as said by the journal. The gap size has nothing to do with the student’s parents and their education, but more so, how much money their parents have. This is a sickening phase of education that children are struggling to grow through.

When students are not taught at high levels of quality, they have no other choice but to be given a difficult time when testing. An article from Brookings titled “Income and Education as Predictors of Children’s School Readiness”, written by Julia B. Isaacs and Katherine A. Magnuson, claims that children from low-income families “perform less well on standardized tests compared with more advantaged youth and are less likely to graduate high school and complete college.” Children that are struggling through this grow up to be financially unstable because they can not land a decent paying job, for employers often look at school records to track success.  The article states that “Children born into families at the bottom fifth of the income distribution are twice as likely as middle-class children to remain in that bottom bracket as adults.” Even if these children are capable of so much more, their education is holding them back from achieving tremendous things. The visible problem here is that education is now doing the opposite for students as what it is supposed to do- which is to ensure success while obtaining knowledge and everyday skills from attending school.

This lack of efficient schooling often leads children down troubled paths for the rest of their lives. An article from ChildFund International titled “Poverty and Education”states that “Poverty and education are inextricably linked, because people living in poverty may stop going to school so they can work, which leaves them without literacy and numeracy skills they need to further their careers.”  Without these skills necessary to work, children notice from a young age that school is just a waste of time. Students dropout of school because if they are not gaining anything from attending, they could be searching for jobs to start making money to support themselves. Students need to be properly educated, but that can only happen if their schools are properly, equally funded. Poverty does not wait for anyone to “catch up”. In other words, poverty is occuring in various places all around the world, and it will not wait for families to overcome it, even if their education, and then their success for the rest of their lives, is in jeopardy. The very least we should be able to offer these children and these families is a place where they can go to get a high-quality education. Property taxes, however, are restricting them from obtaining that well-deserved education.

An article from LSU Online titled “How Does Poverty Affect Education?” states that low-income areas interferes with a child’s physical readiness, cognitive readiness, and social-emotional readiness. When a student is raised in a low-income neighborhood, odds are, their parents are struggling to provide for them. No matter how hard they work, they do not have surplus money to buy extra amounts of food, clothing, or body care products. They may even be struggling to pay the gas and water bill. If a student’s parents are constantly working, the student probably eats fast, greasy, fattening meals for dinner. This, in turn, leads to poor health, which makes their bodies prone to illnesses that are left untreated, causing more school absences. When students live in these areas, violence and crime rates are extremely high, causing children to stay indoors in fear of getting put into risky situations at parks or playgrounds. Because of this lack of exercise, students gain even more weight, becoming more unhealthy every day. So, it is vital that a student’s school provides time at recess to play or provides extra-curricular activities like sports after school. However, in low-income areas, the schools do not have enough money for after school activities. But, the high-income neighborhoods have sports teams, clubs, dance teams, choir, and much more than the low-income schools because they have more money coming into their schools. These low-income students also may face situations at home that could interfere with how they think about life. If they watch their loved one being abused, is struggling due to stress, do not have enough money, and often do not sleep well at night, they are going to remember that feeling for a long time. When they go to school, they will still have those memories and feelings in the back of their minds. The school atmosphere does not make them forget because it is not at a high level of education. The school does not have enough tools, papers, technology, or exercises to keep the children’s minds off of what could be happening at home. Due to the lack of focus, the students also perform poorly in school. They will isolate themselves from teachers and other students and will be hesitant to make relationships. On top of this, if students are not being taught an adequate amount of vocabulary per day, or if their mind is somewhere else, their cognitive development decreases. The article states, “Many students who cannot understand the words in their texts will resist reading altogether. In addition, students will refuse to participate in discussions they do not understand simply because they do not want to ask for clarification.” Children now think that because they do not understand, that they are simply unintelligent. They are afraid to look silly in front of other classmates, so they do not ask for any further explanations about lessons, which leads to poor results when testing does come. Lower-income schools has many more effects than just learning, it affects the community, the household, the children, the students, the families, and the well being of others.These ideas listed above are directly related to the achievement gap and the reasons why it has grown so vast over the last couple of decades. The achievement gap has been the ultimate division between success and failure for children all around the world.

Children from low-income areas are left to “make-do” with what they have, which is undeniably inadequate. Why are these children suffering?

An article from The Atlantic titled “How Ineffective Government Funding Can Hurt Poor Students”, claims that 14 states are currently providing less money to poor community schools with a lot of students coming from poor areas. It also states that 19 states have a funding system that does just enough to meet the standards in schools that lack valuable resources and are unable ensure a quality education. There are over 11 million poor students in the United States that are not receiving the education they deserve. Schools struggle to purchase enough textbooks, calculators, rulers, papers, etc due to the property taxes and low income.

In another article from Hechinger Report titled “How does underfunding actually affect schools? Four Questions With Greene County Superintendent Richard Fleming” written by Kayleigh Skinner, Fleming speaks out on the effects of low-income property taxes on the school itself. He claims the school had to cut positions and end jobs for some employees of the school because they did not have enough money to pay them. He says his district is in “survival mode”, meaning they are struggling just to provide the basic needs for the children. The school is behind on technology, cannot provide the arts, sports, or a choir. The students are simply missing out on what they should be more than capable of having.

An article from The Odyssey titled “Lack of Materials Hinders Student Success” written by Julia Taboh explains that the absence of necessary materials takes a large toll on student success, for without them, students inevitably perform at lower rates than the highly funded school students do. Teachers often have to pay for classroom resources from their own money, or are forced to use old books from other schools that do not even cover what is in their plans or the school’s curriculum. They also have no clear way to track data of what schools need what textbooks and what curriculum would best fit.  This data is essential for It allows the school to see what they already have and what they need more of to be successful. Without this data, it is clear that the needs are not met, for they have no way how to reach them.

Not only do these children endure difficult lives at home, for low-income areas often lack resources, they are being sent to school to suffer even more difficulty with developing and learning.The middle class seems to dissipating as the gap between the rich and the poor grows wider and wider. Funding has been cut a tremendous amount and in some states, pre-K education has been cut entirely and some schools had to deny some kids from attending school due to population. The states have not hesitated to cut funding, yet they haven’t made any true effort to gain money to support the schools.  Most of the children from poor areas come to school without have had eaten breakfast yet, or have just encountered secondhand smoke on the way to school, abuse, neglect, are dressed in light, tattered clothing and torn shoes. The bottom line is that their lives are difficult enough- why should they suffer even more in the place they are supposed to succeed? In the place they have a right to succeed? Everybody talks about the gap, but nobody does anything to fix the gap, or even attempt to do so. Children from these areas are dropping out of high school before they graduate.  In an article from The Huffington Post titled “High School Dropout Rates for Minority and Poor Students Disproportionately High” written by Emmeline Zhau, it states that there were about 3 million teens in 2009 that did not have a high school diploma or were not enrolled in school at all. The drop out rate for low-income students is five times greater than the dropout rates of high-income schools- 7.4%. High school dropouts are not able to apply for 90% of the worlds jobs. This means that children from low-income areas are denied a job that pays enough to support them before they even get a chance to get an interview for the job; they are turned down on the spot, and it is all starts from the lack of funding in low-income communities. The problem does not stop here, however. 

In an article from Huffington Post titled “Why Aren’t Low-Income Students Succeeding in School?” written by Carol J. Carter states that the low-income students that do attend college, they often have to take remedial courses to learn the skills necessary for college. So, even when they are eligible to attend, they are not educationally prepared. Due to the lack of exposure to books and textbooks when they were younger takes a toll on them. For every 300 low-income students, there is only one book. “Children from low-income families hear as many as 30 million fewer words by the age of 4 than their higher-income peers,” Carter claims. They also suffer from language barriers, as 8% of students attending U.S schools are English Language Learners. “Research shows that ELL students are much less likely to score at or above proficient levels in both math and reading/language arts,” Carter continues. This lack of experience from a young age influences their scores and performance by a large amount, and it is devastating to see. Students that have lived a tough life at home also find themselves encountering a lack of stability. These effects of the events at home might differ the student from learning, from doing smart things after school, and ultimately creates immense challenges for the student. Most of these students go home to parents who do not have a high school diploma, and have not made the best choices, therefore creating a lack of role models. They have no one to look up to, so it makes it difficult them for them to take on the responsibility to make a path for themselves. Because they are first generation college students, they often find themselves to be a bit confused, or feel out of place. “Within six years, 89 percent of low-income first generation students leave without a degree,” states Carter. This percentage is alarming because it is all due to the lack of education in their earlier years. These students had the opportunity to grasp their future and to graduate college, but the pressure of it all was much too overwhelming to succeed. 

Children are not succeeding simply because of the area they were born in, and this fact alone is why things need to be changed.. The effect the low-funded schooling has on them is tremendous. If they cannot use the tools they need, if they do not learn what is on the curriculum, they are going to be unprepared and undereducated when it comes time to go to college if they choose to do so or to apply for jobs. These children are “doomed” from birth, as they are not guaranteed the right to the education they are entitled to. And the worst thing is, it all starts with the government funding, the ones who know that low-income areas do not earn enough money to properly fund a school. Therefore, we are trapping these children’s potentials into a confined box, leaving them no other option but to be stuck in this constant cycle of inadequacy.

Some people seem to still believe, after all of the aforementioned details of how property tax funding of schools has damaged the youth, that property tax is the best form of payment to fund schools. Although counterintuitive, with property tax funding for public schools emerges a large problem; people want schools to have inequality. It all comes down to this- rich homeowners want to pay for their schools in their neighborhoods, merely because it makes the value of their community increase and makes their area look better than the surrounding regions. The rich families know that they pay a higher property tax rate than the next town, but if this money is going towards a better reputation for them and for their surrounding schools, they are more than happy to give that money up. They know that their schools are better funded, that their students have a higher chance of success, and because of these statements, the homes in the area hold their value. People will want to move to areas where the community’s are elegant, with financially stable schools that acquire more than necessary to implement their children’s success. This is why homeowner’s support the property tax funding of schools. They disregard the condition of the schools in areas of poverty or low-income. These places don’t seem to matter to them at all. They want their schools to be superior, but what they do not realize is that this unequal expenses on schools create the achievement gap as aforementioned. Homeowners want to control the local government and its taxes because it directly benefits their homes, their neighborhoods,and their schools.

An article taken from JSTOR titled “Homevoters, Municipal Corporate Governance, and The Benefit View of The Property Tax,” states that “ The more general issue that homevoting addresses is why school quality has fallen in California and, apparently, in other states that have traveled down a similar path away from local control of school finances.” This shows that states are recognizing this immense gap between student success in contrasting areas, but no one has yet to make an action on this issue. People are hesitant to believe such a gap exists because the test scores are seemingly close in comparison, but what the people do not know is that this is because the highly-funded schools are actually being “dumbed-down” and taught less efficiently than they are supposed to be taught. This makes the people think that the difference between schools in poor and rich areas is simply just the location. But, these rich families are sending their childrens to schools that they think are top of the line, when really, their children are learning at lower, slower levels than they should. The article states, “This is consistent with the findings by several studies that show that greater state fiscal involvement results in less efficient schooling.” Due to these reasons, the quality of schooling is not just decreasing in poor areas, but also in the rich areas as well.

So, what do we do now? Do we add more teachers to the school? The article states that if we do this, the more qualified teachers will be chosen, increasing school quality and the homes around the school. But, what about the extra money the school now needs to pay these teachers? This, in turn, would raise property taxes, which decreases home value. In turn, local voters now have to decide to choose cost-effective schools. The state legislature, however, cannot do the same for the following reasons. States are too large to see the differences between the quality of schools compared to other states. Also, adults that do not have children in school do not want to spend as much as school funding for state level than local level. People that own homes that they can one day sell to another family that does have kids are still interested in the quality of schools and the condition of the surrounding community. The third and final reason centralization causes poor results in schooling is because teacher’s unions replaces homeowners as being the most important group at state level. Although unions raise average spending per student, they make those earnings less sufficient by putting it towards work rules that they cannot acquire at the local level.

An article from The Harvard Gazette written by Christina Pazzanese states that “Your ZIP code and the exact characteristics of your parents seem to matter more,” said Lawrence Katz in an interview discussing the damaging effects of the growing achievement gap. What he means by this is that nowadays it does matter where you are raised and by whom,one parent or two, in a rich community or poor, for these aspects determine your fate. This is an appalling way to look at the achievement gap, but it is sadly true. Katz calls the diversion “The rich and the rest”, implying that it seems to be that if you are not rich, you do not deserve a category, or a name. If you are not rich, you are the “rest”, the people who struggle to get by, who don’t have high quality schools or neighborhoods. Being rich doesn’t necessarily mean who can buy the most expensive things, for it now means being rich determines whether or not you are successful in your future career path or not. This has changed the way young children think, which is perhaps the saddest part of it all. We no longer consider ourselves successful if we are not rich, from high income places, and land a job making over a hundred thousand per year. Our actual intelligence doesn’t even determine our success because of property tax and the achievement gap.

Katz continues to say, “Smart poor kids are less likely to graduate from college now than dumb rich kids. That’s not because of the schools, that’s because of all the advantages that are available to rich kids.” Something has to change if we want to give the youth, the future of America an equal education. Their fates are decided before they can even speak, before they can crawl.

The United States education system is truly at its lowest point, and it all derives directly from the way schools are funded. Our youth deserves an education that will be able to support them throughout their entire lives. Students should be able to wake up every morning with confidence that they are going to do something amazing that day, that they can learn, and grow, and feel safe inside of a school building. They should not have to feel like they are settling for the very minimal requirements of education. We have to push, we have to recognize the faults within the system, and we have to shrink that education achievement gap before it becomes too massive to compromise with.

 

References

 

How Does Poverty Affect Education? | LSU Online. (2017, April 10). Retrieved from https://lsuonline.lsu.edu/articles/education/how-does-poverty-affect-education.aspx

Isaacs, J. B., & Magnuson, K. A. (2016, July 29). Income and Education as Predictors of Children’s School Readiness. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/research/income-and-education-as-predictors-of-childrens-school-readiness/

Poverty and Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.childfund.org/about-us/education/

Reardon, S. F. (2017, July 24). The widening academic achievement gap between the rich and the poor: New evidence and possible explanations. Retrieved from https://cepa.stanford.edu/content/widening-academic-achievement-gap-between-rich-and-poor-new-evidence-and-possible

Richmond, E. (2015, June 08). How Ineffective Government Funding Can Hurt Poor Students. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/06/how-funding-inequalities-push-poor-students-further-behind/395348/

Skinner, K. (2015, April 13). How does underfunding actually affect schools? Four questions with Greene County Superintendent Richard Fleming. Retrieved from http://hechingerreport.org/how-does-underfunding-actually-affect-schools-four-questions-with-greene-county-superintendent-richard-fleming/

Taboh, J. (2017, August 27). Lack Of Materials Hinders Student Success. Retrieved from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/lack-of-material

Zhao, E. (2012, February 14). Dropout Rates For Minority And Poor Students Disproportionately High. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/20/high-school-dropout-rates_n_1022221.html

 

Annotated Bibliography- AmongOthers13

1) Carter, C. J. (2013, May 19). Why Aren’t Low-Income Students Succeeding in School? Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-j-carter/why-arent-low-income-stud_b_2909180.html
Background: Many low income first-generation college students are reading and doing math at a seventh or eighth grade level and are admitted into college. Annually, as many as 1.7 million first-year students entering both two- and four-year colleges have to take remedial courses to learn the skills they need to enroll in a college-level course.Academic challenges they face are due to the past education they have received. Lack of exposure to books, language barriers, lack of stability, lack of role models, and first generation are all aspects of their struggles put on them from early on in education.
How I Used It: I used it to show that the problem does not end after high school. The effects get worse as we get older. These are the reasons why these children sometimes do not excel in school.
2) How Does Poverty Affect Education? | LSU Online. (2017, April 10). Retrieved from https://lsuonline.lsu.edu/articles/education/how-does-poverty-affect-education.aspx
Background: Poverty puts a toll on a child’s physical readiness, social-emotional readiness, and cognitive readiness. When a child is raised in a low-income home, they are often left alone to fend for themselves while their parents work multiple jobs. They can only provide fast, easy food to make for themselves, which is usually junk food. This leads to unresolved health conditions, which cause major problems in the future. What a child endures at home could be so distracting that they can not pay attention in school, leading to poor performance and an emotional cut-off from everybody in the classroom and the school. If a child does not understand what is in the text book, they feel foolish and silly and do not ask questions. They would rather act up than to be embarrassed in front of the whole class for something they don’t know.
How I Used It: Growing up in a low-income area has a major impact on the children living there. The schools are not good enough to have quality learning and teaching. These children suffer in many ways each and every day. These factors listed are all detrimental to a child’s life, well-being, and to their success.
3) Isaacs, J. B., & Magnuson, K. A. (2016, July 29). Income and Education as Predictors of Children’s School Readiness. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/research/income-and-education-as-predictors-of-childrens-school-readiness/

Background: Studies have shown huge gaps when testing school readiness in young children due to income of their families and also material education. Most children from a poor, low-income family perform poorer than those from a high-income family. A test is being conducted to test how children perform and why- what causes the poor performance>

How I Used It:  This article shows how income plays a huge role in the success of young children, as it is the deciding factor for their success. It explores the idea of parent’s education and family income and how they come into play when it comes to children’s education.

 

4) Poverty and Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.childfund.org/about-us/education/

Background : The lack of education could lead to a lifetime full of struggles, hardships, and difficulties. It is hard for children to accomplish more things when they lack a full education. A program called ChildFund India raises money for children’s needs for schooling. In most areas where ChildFund is, schooling itself is free, but the uniforms, books, buses, are often too expensive for families to pay.

How I Used It: The significance of a good education and what it can do for children in the long run. Without a quality education, children are steered onto the wrong path, and it is hard to get out of.

5) Reardon, S. F. (2017, July 24). The widening academic achievement gap between the rich and the poor: New evidence and possible explanations. Retrieved from https://cepa.stanford.edu/content/widening-academic-achievement-gap-between-rich-and-poor-new-evidence-and-possible

Background: Discusses family socioeconomic characteristics and the difference in academic success over the last 50 years. Income achievement gap is the “Average achievement difference between a child from a family at the 90th percentile of the family income distribution and a child from a family at the 10th percentile”. It is now double the black-white gap, a gap that used to be one and a half to two times larger than the income achievement gap.

How I Used It: The relationship between income and achievement has grown tremendously and income is now a deciding factor for children’s success.

 

6) Richmond, E. (2015, June 08). How Ineffective Government Funding Can Hurt Poor Students. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/06/how-funding-inequalities-push-poor-students-further-behind/395348/
Background: Fourteen states are currently spending less money on public school funding to poor areas and communities. The states are forcing schools to make do with the bare minimum for their students, as well as give no extra money to support funding in classrooms. Public school funding remains unfair and unequal for the 11 million poor students in the U.S
How I Used It: Property tax to support public school funding is tearing down the fundamentals of education. Students are left with little to nothing in schools and acquire not all of the necessary materials. They are forced to make do with what they have. These children are simply not receiving a quality education that will help them today, and in the future.
7) Schaeffer, U. (n.d.). Knowledge is power: Why education matters | DW | 03.05.2012. Retrieved from http://www.dw.com/en/knowledge-is-power-why-education-matters/a-15880356
Background: No other resource will ever be able to live up to the benefits of education. Education empowers students and gives them the confidence to participate in society. All human beings should have direct access to an education, but in 2009 only 89% of children attended school, and the process has slowed down since then. In many poor communities, every 4 out of 10 students stop going to school before they reach elementary school. Children in rural areas have a less chances to be educated.
How I Used It: In my opening paragraph I used quotes to show the importance of education so that my reader was thinking about how much they have grown from education, and then introduced the fact that low-income students are struggling in poor conditions in schools. I was hoping to hit their emotions with this one.
8) Skinner, K. (2015, April 13). How does underfunding actually affect schools? Four questions with Greene County Superintendent Richard Fleming. Retrieved from http://hechingerreport.org/how-does-underfunding-actually-affect-schools-four-questions-with-greene-county-superintendent-richard-fleming/
Background: Richard Fleming, the Superintendent of a school in Mississippi, states that his school has barely enough materials to get by. His program has been underfunded for years, he claims. He has had to cut positions that he really needed to have in his schools. His schools is in survival mode, and is in “nuts and bolts”, about to fall apart. They cannot offer extra-curricular activities or clubs to children. The textbooks are old and falling apart, always behind in technology, buildings from the 1930’s.
How I Used It: Money is essential to give students a quality education. When the spending is unequal for different schools, it creates diverse problems between the students and their success is impacted negatively.
9)  Taboh, J. (2017, August 27). Lack Of Materials Hinders Student Success. Retrieved from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/lack-of-material
Background: We cannot obtain a quality education if it is not offered to us. Schools lack funding, which in turn creates a lack of materials. The ability to give proper materials to students is a recurring problem. There is not enough collection of data to tell schools what they need and what they are doing okay with. There is a deficiency of staff, which results in an inadequate number of supplies
How I Used It: Without the right materials, children have difficulty learning and understanding to their fullest extent. Children are suffering in schools because they are not funded enough in order for them to be successful.
10) Zhao, E. (2012, February 14). Dropout Rates For Minority And Poor Students Disproportionately High. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/20/high-school-dropout-rates_n_1022221.html
Background: As badly as administrators yearn for the minorities and poor students to graduate, a large number of them dropout. Someone who drops out of high school will make about $630,000 less than someone who got their high school diploma. High school dropouts are not able to work in 90% of America’s jobs. In October of 2009, 3 million 16-24 year-olds were not enrolled in high school and did not have their GED. Minority students dropped out at extremely higher rates than their White classmates in 2009, when 4.8 percent of of blacks and 5.8 percent of Hispanics between 15 and 24 dropped out of grades 10-12, compared with 2.4 percent for white students. Low-income dropouts was 5 times greater than high-income students- comparing 7.4 percent to 1.4 percent.
How I Used It: I used these facts to show how dramatic the difference in dropout rates are between low-income and minorities than high-income and white students. These students do not dropout because school is hard, they dropout simply because they are in low-funded schools with not enough materials or teachers to supply their learning. They decide to dropout and get a job to start supporting themselves, since they have given up on school due to their conditions.

Causal Rewrite- amongothers13

Low-Income Communities+Low-Funded Schools= Less Preparation+Less Opportunities

The education gap between poor and rich communities has grown immensely over the last couple decades due to the environment and location the schools are placed in. In an area with low property taxes, poor communities do not provide enough money in order for the schools to give the proper supplies and resources needed in a classroom. These children are left to “make-do” with what they have, which is undeniably not enough. Why are these children suffering?

An article from The Atlantic titled  How Ineffective Government Funding Can Hurt Poor Students, claims that 14 states are currently providing less money to poor community schools with a lot of students coming from poor areas. It also states that 19 states have a funding system that does just enough to meet the standards in schools that lack valuable resources and are unable ensure a quality education. There are over 11 million poor students in the United States that are not receiving the education they deserve. Schools struggle to purchase enough textbooks, calculators, rulers, papers, etc due to the property taxes and low income.

Richard Fleming, who is a superintendent of the Greene County School District in Mississippi, speaks out on the effects of low-income property taxes on the school itself. He claims the school had to cut positions and end jobs for some employees of the school because they did not have enough money to pay them. He says his district is in “survival mode”, meaning they are struggling just to provide the basic needs for the children. The school is behind on technology, cannot provide the arts, sports, or a choir. The students are simply missing out on what they should be more than capable of having. (Hechingreport.org)

The lack of necessary materials takes a large toll on student success, for without them, students inevitably perform at lower rates than the highly funded school students do. Teachers often have to pay for classroom resources from their own money, or are forced to use old books from other schools that do not even cover what is in their plans or the school’s curriculum. They also have no clear way to track data of what schools need what textbooks and what curriculum would best fit.  This data is essential for It allows the school to see what they already have and what they need more of to be successful. Without this data, it is clear that the needs are not met, for they have no way how to reach them. (The Odyssey)

Not only do these children endure difficult lives at home, for low-income areas often lack resources, they are being sent to school to suffer even more difficulty with developing and learning. The middle class seems to dissipating as the gap between the rich and the poor grows wider and wider. Funding has been cut a tremendous amount and in some states, pre-K education has been cut entirely and some schools had to deny some kids from attending school due to population. The states have not hesitated to cut funding, yet they haven’t made any true effort to gain money to support the schools.  Most of the children from poor areas come to school without have had eaten breakfast yet, or have just encountered secondhand smoke on the way to school, abuse, neglect, are dressed in light, tattered clothing and torn shoes. The bottom line is that their lives are difficult enough- why should they suffer even more in the place they are supposed to succeed? In the place they have a right to succeed? Everybody talks about the gap, but nobody does anything to fix the gap, or even attempt to do so. Children from these areas are dropping out of high school before they graduate. There were about 3 million teens in 2009 that did not have a high school diploma or were not enrolled in school at all. The drop out rate for low-income students is five times greater than the drop out rates of high-income schools- 7.4%. High school dropouts are not able to apply for 90% of the worlds jobs. This means that children from low-income areas are denied a job that pays enough to support them before they even get a chance to get an interview for the job; they are turned down on the spot, and it is all starts from the lack of funding in low-income communities. (Huffington Post)

Children are not succeeding simply because of the area they were born in, and this fact alone is why things need to be changed.. The effect the low-funded schooling has on them is tremendous. If they cannot use the tools they need, if they do not learn what is on the curriculum, they are going to be unprepared and undereducated when it comes time to go to college if they choose to do so or to apply for jobs. These children are “doomed” from birth, as they are not guaranteed the right to the education they are entitled to. And the worst thing is, it all starts with the government funding, the ones who know that low-income areas do not earn enough money to properly fund a school. 

References

How does underfunding actually affect schools? Four questions with Greene County Superintendent Richard Fleming. (2015, April 13). Retrieved April 09, 2018. http://hechingerreport.org/how-does-underfunding-actually-affect-schools-four-questions-with-greene-county-superintendent-richard-fleming/

How does underfunding actually affect schools? Four questions with Greene County Superintendent Richard Fleming. (2015, April 13). Retrieved April 09, 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/06/how-funding-inequalities-push-poor-students-further-behind/395348/

Lack Of Materials Hinders Student Success. (2017, August 27). Retrieved April 09, 2018. http://www.theedadvocate.org/poverty-and-school-funding-why-low-income-students-often-suffer/

Richmond, E. (2015, June 08). How Ineffective Government Funding Can Hurt Poor Students. Retrieved April 09, 2018.  https://www.theodysseyonline.com/lack-of-material

Zhao, E. (2012, February 14). Dropout Rates For Minority And Poor Students Disproportionately High. Retrieved April 09, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/20/high-school-dropout-rates_n_1022221.html

Rebuttal- amongothers13

(Un)Justifying Property Tax Funding for Public Schools

Although property taxes for public school funding are commonly frowned upon, especially when concerning the low-income families struggling to obtain stability, most fail to see the importance of property taxes when it comes to funding schools. Property taxes contribute to a constant flow of income to schools. In a report published by The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy,  titled “The Property Tax-School Funding Dilemma,” it states that half of all property tax revenue in the United States is used to fund public primary and secondary schools.” This means that if property taxes were to be diminished or cut, in turn, the money would have to come from somewhere else- perhaps another form of tax under a different name than “property tax”. Another benefit of property tax is that those who do have a large amount of money inherited are able to pay more to the community, which would give the schools more money in the long run. People who own houses usually obtain more cash than those who rent homes, hence why homeowners are taxed more. If they make more money, they can give more back to the schools. Another reason property taxes fund schools is because the more money is put into a school system, the better it benefits the children. More money coming in will purchase supplies and books for the children that are vital to their education.

In a frequently asked questions tab on the National Conference of State Legislature website, it states that the property tax funding of schools is here, in use, and they plan on keeping it this way for a long time. If we were to eliminate the property tax funding, the funds would have to come from some other tax, whether it be income, sales or excise tax, which are more likely to change than property taxes. If property taxes were gone, sales tax would need to be increased more than just the 7% it is now. Everything would then be more expensive than what we pay now, and there is no say on how much more things would cost. It could be 15% tax, perhaps even a startling 20%. The property tax method is more stable and secure than the sales tax or income tax would be, and for that reason, people have a hard time imagining what it would be like if we were to abolish the property tax funding of schools.

The National Association of Home Builders Discusses Economics and Housing Policy(NAHB) website shows data that in 2009, $591 billion dollars were collected in the U.S used specifically for elementary and secondary education. These property taxes were accountable for 65% of the school revenues as well as 29% of school funding. The data shows that the more property taxes taken out correlates to the size and accomplishments of the school systems.

People can argue property taxes have many benefits when it comes down to a firm way to produce a constant income of money to the school systems. With that being said, I would like to introduce why property taxes do the opposite of good. The property taxes in different areas vary, higher-income areas give more money than low-income families simply because they have more money to give. They live in nicer areas, with bigger communities and nicer things. Low-income families struggle to feed their children, to put clean clothes on them in the morning. Due to property taxes being so high, they can only afford so much. These children, in turn, are sent to school with the least qualified teachers, with the least amount of history, and the least amount of school supplies. They then receive less of an education than those that live in high-income communities. This is exactly what causes the widening achievement gap- the difference in money going into schools. Low-income schools have less money to spend per student than high-income schools do. An article on Huffington Post titled “School Funding Inequality Makes Education ‘Separate and Unequal,'” states that 6.6 million students from low-income areas in 23 states are harmed directly by local fundings. It is said that federal funding could be used to help pay for schools, but it is not supposed to be used to balance the local and state funds. Instead, this method would take away from the schools. We need to realize that children from low-income families live a difficult life. Some, if not most, walk into school in the morning with an empty stomach and thin, tapered clothing. Most of them encounter abuse at home, and live in run-down neighborhoods filled with crime and drug use. Then, they are sent to a school that does not allow them to grow due to the lack of resources in said school. This is why property tax funding of schools needs to be eliminated. Children in high-income areas have more resources than they actually use and need at the schools they attend while low-income students, just as deserving of a full education, sit in old, rocky desks, struggling to get by with the materials they do have, which is very little. We need to realize it is time to give back to the children, and property taxes are destroying America’s youth and their chances at becoming successful.  

So, while others may argue that property taxes are “the only way”, I find it hard to believe that the only way to help students in schools is by taking away from them, by not giving them what they need. Arne Duncan states that “The children who need the most seem to be getting less and less, and the children who need the least get more and more.” There simply must be another way. These children deserve an equal education.

 

Sources:

http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/funding-approaches-the-property-tax-and-public-ed.aspx

http://eyeonhousing.org/2011/09/the-importance-of-property-taxes-for-schools/

https://www.sapling.com/12053235/advantages-disadvantages-property-taxes-used-fund-education

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/13/arne-duncan-school-funding-disparities_n_6864866.html