• Kurowei Indiamaowei

Is There A One- Size-Fits- All Education System?

Around the world, countries have their own unique ways of doing many things. Distinct clothing, foods, cultural celebrations, and currency allow each country to stand out in its own way. From an economic standpoint, the way in which each country manages programs such as healthcare, police protection, and welfare drastically differ among nations as well. Among these core areas, public education is debatably one of the most crucial, as the quality of a country’s education has an enormous impact on the future of a country’s youth.

The current school funding system in the U.S(which relies on the tax revenues from the residents of a community) has only intensified the situation for those living in deprived communities. This is no concern for affluent communities, which have ample school resources, learning material, and extracurricular funding. However, for many low-income communities, this policy is catastrophic. With insubstantial resources and money, these communities receive scarce funding, leading to less help opportunities, underpaid and unmotivated teachers, and often outdated learning material. This type of school environment deters success, leading these children to frequently stop attending school. This prevents many African Americans from pursuing higher education and obtaining high-paying jobs, restricting them from breaking the cycle of poverty.

Although creating universal public education is an extremely expensive endeavor, many nations have made the attempt to create an education system in which traditional barriers, especially those of financial income, are limited. A key reason that so many countries have been able to keep/maintain equitable school funding is their increased reliance on state and federal funding rather than at the local level. Instead of using local property taxes to pay for school funding, these countries instead shift the burden to their government. This has been a key reason that nations such as Finland, Japan, and Canada have been able to reduce the variation in their schools as a result of racial and other demographic factors. Japan’s municipal governments, South Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology, and even Canada’s provincial governments have allowed schools in these areas to be less rigidly structured and divided among racial and wealth boundaries, making them much more inclusive and diverse overall.

It is also imperative to note that some of the most educationally sound countries not only incorporate universal education policies, but they also typically hold their teachers in higher regard than less academically inclined nations. In Finland and South Korea, for example, teachers are not viewed the same way they are in the U.S; while the United States tends to treat teachers as disposable, these top nations allow the role of an educator to hold much prestige. This lack of prestige in the discipline of teaching has also led the United States to pay many of their teachers less than what they should be worth, especially in low income areas. Disparities in the pay of teachers can be a large part of the reason for overall worse quality of education in impoverished areas of the United States as well, as many of these teachers are unmotivated to teach these students as well as lack resources often to teach effectively.

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My name is Joanna! A city girl for 19 years -- grew up in Beijing (hands down, the best city in the world. my favorite thing about beijing? the subway!), living in New York City (it's new york or nowh