Shinya Kashiwagi
Nov 13 · Last update 5 days ago.

What do you think about the relationship between educational inequality and economic inequality?

In the United States, as economic inequality has been growing, educational inequality has been getting wider. It is easy to believe that educational inequality is mostly due to economic inequality, because wealthier families can afford to give their children better educational opportunities. Economic inequality started to grow in the 1970s. At the same time, educational inequality started to widen. Then, both economic and educational inequality have been increasing. While educational inequality was due to race and ethnicity in the 1950s and 1960s, it is caused by economic inequality today. However, it is also true that ethnic minorities are still poorer than ethnic majorities, which means they have less educational opportunities. For example, research conducted by New York University suggests that four percent of White children and sixty two percent of Black children in the United States are raised in poor neighborhoods. Thus, it is important to note that such economic inequality across race leads to educational inequality.
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The need for multilateral reform
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Our society needs to invest in order to solve this educational problem.
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Equal investment in schools
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The relationship is tenuous
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The need for multilateral reform

As inequality runs much deeper through society than just education, simultaneously interacting and reinforcing educational inequality, tackling educational inequality needs to go much further than a one-pronged approach. Tackling educational inequality can only be achieved though addressing societal inequality while changing the education system as a whole. Education is inevitably tied to so many other social issues, with a large amount of learning and development taking place outside of school, to fully address educational inequality then governments needs to take these factors into account.

Some countries need to go much further than simply addressing education systems in the fight against educational inequality, while others need systemic change in education to address the needs of more children. Finland should be the world's example for education, as it has achieved such high levels in so many fields relating education. Finland enjoys the world's highest reading level, a 93% high school graduation level (17.5% higher than the US), with the highest rate of students entering higher education in the EU (66%), however Finland spends around 30% less per student than the US.

Finland has achieved this through both systematic educational reform, and numerous social reforms that address wider inequality in society, while reinforcing equality of access to education, and a well rounded learning environment both at home and at school. Finland achieved educational reform first and foremost by making all schools publicly funded, eliminating the large funding issues that can be seen in countries like the US. Through abolishing standardised testing, ranking, comparisons, or competitions between student, schools, or regions, the Finns has taken a lot of pressure out of the school system, from both students and teachers, giving teachers more hours to plan and less time in class or filing paperwork. Likewise students spend less time in classrooms, more time playing outside, less time doing homework, and experience less stress - starting school later, and learning more efficiently in a low stress environment.

These schooling reforms alone would not have solved educational inequality on their own however, but they are highly indicative of the Finn's high performance in education as a whole. Finland addressed the other side of educational inequality through societal reforms, using a cohesive social safety-net to ensure no child is homeless or hungry when they come to school, with schools providing food, free medical care, counselling and transport. The state also subsidises parents with around €150/month for every child until the age of 17, doing their best to level out anything that could negatively impact a child's education. In addition Finland provide three-years of maternity leave, while subsidising day care to working parents, and providing preschool for all 5 year olds, ensuring a gentle and stable start to all children's education - 97% of children are enrolled in public preschool by 6 years old.

Current educational models fail many children and schools need to offer a diverse range fixes to address all children that fall through the gaps. For kids with difficulties it can be the rigid model of education holding them back rather than the lack of opportunity or adequate parenting. Education ministers should be focussed on the latest studies and successful examples internationally when forming national education policy. Focussing on equitable education for all children, trying to iron-out social inequality, while catering for children with special needs in a more holistic approach to the education system is the only way to achieve lasting higher-levels of equality in education. Educational inequality stems from inequality in schools and at home, removing all obstacles to learning both at school and in the home is the only way to cohesively address this issue.

smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-are-finlands-schools-successful-49859555 bigthink.com/mike-colagrossi/no-standardized-tests-no-private-schools-no-stress-10-reasons-why-finlands-education-system-in-the-best-in-the-world teacherofsci.com/finland-education-system

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Daniel Halliday
Jul 4
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DH edited this paragraph
These schooling reforms alone would not have solved educational inequality on their own however, but they are highly indicative of the Finn's high performance in education as a whole. Finland addressed the other side of educational inequality through societal reforms, using a cohesive social safety-net to ensure no child is homeless or hungry when they come to school, with schools providing food, free medical care, counselling and transport. The state also subsidises parents with around €150/month for every child until the age of 17, doing their best to level out anything that could negatively impact a child's education. In addition Finland provide three-years of maternity leave, while subsidising day care to working parents, and providing preschool for all 5 year olds, ensuring a gentle and stable start to all children's education - 97% of children are enrolled in public preschool by 6 years old.

Our society needs to invest in order to solve this educational problem.

Although our society needs a lot of well-educated workers with high productivity for economic growth, widening educational inequality will decrease the number of well-educated workers. Therefore, we need to give equal educational opportunities to all children. We especially need to invest in educational opportunities at an early stage of life, because the achievement gap starts to appear at an early age.

Research shows that even though the amount of time and money spent on children has been increasing in both wealthy and poor families, the ratio of this increase in wealthy families is two to three times higher than in poor families. Since parents play a role as a teacher before their children go to school, the more time they can spend with their child, the better education they can give. Also, the more money they can spend, the more educational activities they can give in addition to schooling. Thus, narrowing the gap in time and money that parents can spend will lead to narrowing educational inequality.

Therefore, one way to close the gap of educational inequality is to invest in parents, but not school. That is because it makes it possible for more parents to give their children a better education earlier, such as enrollment in preschool. Also, investing in teaching programs for parents will educate parents enabling them to become better parents and better educators for their children. Another way to invest in parents is to give income support to them, because it enables them to spend more time with their children. Some poor parents do not have enough time to educate their children, because they have to work to make their living.

When we are trying to narrow educational inequality, we need to note that educational inequality comes from an opportunity gap which is not only an achievement gap in standardized test but a lot of issues that influence children’s performances. While an achievement gap is defined as the gap in academic performance in students, an opportunity gap is defined as the complex issues that affect their academic performance. Thus, we need to understand that forcing children with poor performance to put more effort into studying is not a solution. Rather, giving more opportunities to poor children can narrow the gap between wealthy children and poor children.

If educational inequality continues to increase, our society will have less and less well-educated workers who can support economic growth in the nation. Since educational inequality is caused by an opportunity gap between wealthy families and poor families, we need to give equal opportunities to every child. In order to do so, our society must invest in solving this problem, because it will help the economy in the future.

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Daniel Halliday
Jul 4
DH edited this paragraph
https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/03/26/is-improving-schools-all-about-money/to-improve-education-fund-each-student-equally https://www.epi.org/publication/education-inequalities-at-the-school-starting-gate/ https://theconversation.com/to-reduce-inequality-in-australian-schools-make-them-less-socially-segregated-95034 https://hewlett.org/inequity-is-the-problem-in-education/

Equal investment in schools

Instead of financially helping lower income parents the same money could be put into the education system directly. Funding financially unstable families ultimately means taxpayers help to fund lower income families fund educational activities for their children, but to solve educational inequalities we should be focusing on equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. The fighting of inequality in education can only come from strengthening the education system in poorer areas, and equal funding policy is the simplest and best way to achieve this.

In the U.S. many states fund schools from property taxes directly, so that schools in poorer districts actually receive less taxpayer funding than more affluent districts. Policies like this strengthen the relationship between educational and economic inequality and arguably should be the first step to address when dealing with the unraveling of educational inequality. Arguably America should do more to take school funding out of the hands of states and put in place federal education funding policy that can allow schools equal access to funding.

The divide caused by educational disparity is not simply a rich/poor divide however, an urban-suburban-rural divide, with urban and rural children suffering the worst poverty and lower standards of schooling make the US education dynamic more complex. Rather than further complicating the issue with means testing and money sapping fixes that may or may not address the issue at hand, schools should be funded equally as a societal foundation. It is impossible to insure equality in the outcome of education, but making sure all children have the same access to the same level of education should be the ultimate goal here. An absolute level playing field will always be a myth, but equal opportunity is inevitably linked to equal school funding.

sovereignnations.com/2019/08/26/jordan-peterson-dangerous-doctrine-equity alligator.org/opinion/property-taxes-fund-schools-but-increase-educational-inequality/article_ca0477dc-b802-11e9-aa29-abc536b3fe97.html ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may02/vol59/num08/Unequal-School-Funding-in-the-United-States.aspx theatlantic.com/education/archive/2018/01/what-school-funding-debates-ignore/551126

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Daniel Halliday
Jun 29
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The relationship is tenuous

More affluent parents may be more affluent because they have a different attitude to their own life as they do to their child’s education. Although studies may show a relation between affluence and educational achievement, correlation does not always demonstrate causation, and there may be more at play than just money. For example some researchers (Duncan and Murnane 2011) found that more frequent parental playtime, more time spent reading to children, and other parenting practices that promote a children’s learning were just as effective in guaranteeing a good education for a child.

Other studies (Peng; et al, 1992 & Waxman; Huang, 1997) have also shown that some communities, for example certain rural communities, have a less favourable view of education, originating in differing values surrounding school, work, and success. Such community or family-based values will not change through simple subsidising schemes aimed at tacking income inequality.

Likewise complex demographic and migration issues have also been put forward as a contributing factor to educational inequality. The "brain drain" phenomenon surrounding the teaching profession is thought to contribute to levels of education offered by some schools. As poorer neighbourhoods may have higher levels of crime, good teachers may be deterred from such positions, as they may have the option to seek better pay, neighbourhoods, or even countries, causing a lack of talent in schools in some areas.

So money may fix a families financial issue but it may not necessary address parenting issues to have a knock on effect on a child's education. The fact that some people would not spend extra income on their child’s education cannot be discounted when trying to tackle educational inequality. Such family based funding schemes should therefore be handled with caution, and the full scope of the problem should be taken into consideration.

epi.org/publication/education-inequalities-at-the-school-starting-gate eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ542124 eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ440492

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Daniel Halliday
Jun 29
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