Identifying the Problem
The quality of education varies dramatically by school, district, city, and state, seen in the startling educational achievement disparities between them. School districts in areas with lower-income families often dramatically underperform against those with extremely wealthy families, witnessing achievement differences up to six full grade levels apart (Source). Similarly, race and family situation heavily correlate with both parental income and achievement (Source). Even beyond this, factors ranging from social pressure, gender, environment, and feelings of safety compound the widening achievement gaps we see (Source).
This is not to say that we haven’t made progress toward a stronger educational system; certainly, we have. More and more people of all backgrounds are graduating high school, college, and vocational programs, and there are incredible examples of underfunded districts dramatically moving the achievement bar (Source). Yet there are clear, substantial barriers to making quality education truly available to all students.
With schools funded heavily by state and local taxes, they are largely at the mercy of state governments to secure the funding they need. Schools located in wealthier areas simply have access to substantially more resources that serve fewer students.
This is why we fight for equity, not equality. Investing in schools equally suggests every school needs the same resources. With equity, we acknowledge that not everyone starts in the same place, and that some schools, cities, and districts require more support than others.