First World Education
- 7 Posts
It's the Sunday night before the end of Spring break and all over your twitter feed the tweet "can't wait to go back to prison tomorrow", or "I would rather die than go to school", or "I hate school so much", is popping up.
I get it- school can be stressful, people can be bullies, and it might be a dirty place filled with germs. But every time I find myself complaining about the mysterious red stain on the lunchroom chair, or the putrid smell from the upstairs hallways, I think about all the kids without an adequate place to learn, grow, and build themselves. This requires a definition of "adequate", which we will get into later.
I'm not just talking about education in developing countries. America, a country lauded for it's opportunities for all, is not filled only with affluent schools offering sensor water bottle fillers and automatic hand dryers. According to the Southern Education Foundation, in 2013, 51% of all students in public schools in the US came from 'low-income families'. The title of a 'low-income' family goes to those families who make just above what the poverty threshold is. To put this into perspective, about half of the children in public schools qualify for reduced price or free lunches. (Look for upcoming posts about the No Child Left Behind Law).
So not only are people in developing countries struggling to obtain the education that they deserve, but children right outside our enclosed, suburban world are struggling too. According to the Education for All Global Monitoring Report (2012), 61 MILLION children of primary school age do not attend school. And according to the same census from 2011, 12% of people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in developing countries knew how to read (at a basic level). So while 775 million adults are illiterate, reading is condemned and some teens nowadays look upon it as 'nerdy' and 'geeky'.
Target 2.A of the UN MDGs synthesizes a goal to "achieve universal primary education by 2015". The ability to learn is what I believe to be one of the most beautiful things about the human brain. And everyone should get an opportunity to expand their brain and souls through learning.
So next time you find yourself complaining about learning on the first Monday back from school, think about those whose craving to learn exceeds any level we could ever imagine.