In my opinion, one of the biggest obstacles to achieving quality in education is our traditional system of funding.

School districts usually receive the bulk of their funding from local property taxes. While this may have been a sensible way to get public education going once upon a time, all it does now is reinforce disparity.

Schools located in districts with less valuable homes receive much less funding. The schools tend to be pretty poor, and people don’t want to move into the district for that reason.

So the homes become less valuable and the schools receive less funding.

Obviously, there is a huge racist component in this. Politicians are less likely to do something about the funding disparity when the people suffering from the poorer education are Black.

My personal experience with this goes back to Detroit where I lived for a long time and where the school system is among the worst in the entire nation.

I had lots of friends who were teachers in that school system, and the experiences they related to me were horrifying. They literally didn’t have books to teach from, and sometimes even in the bitterest of cold winter, the buildings weren’t heated.

They bought art supplies on their own, scrounged for books for kids to read, and generally made do with almost no budget.

Yet if you cross the border to Royal Oak, just a matter of zipping across Eight Mile Road, the schools are luxurious by comparison. They’re well staffed, packed with all the supplies anyone could need, and kids do pretty well academically. Oh, they’re mostly all white, by the way.

The kids across the road in the Detroit school system are almost all Black.

By virtue of what side of 8 Mile they live on, they go to a well-funded school or to a school that is criminally underfunded.

We don’t have to do it this way. States could provide the same amount of funding per student to every school. Easily. There is absolutely nothing stopping us from doing that.

Except racism, of course.

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store