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A spirit that is not afraid

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Unfair Funding Distribution in Alabama Education

<p>Auburn High School is one of the 12 schools included in the Auburn City School District.&nbsp;</p>

Auburn High School is one of the 12 schools included in the Auburn City School District. 

Growing up going to school, did you ever notice the other schools around yours? Did they seem to be less or more privileged than your school?

What do you think may be the cause of this?

Alabama just received a $7.7 billion education budget. While some would say it was equally distributed among public K-12 schools, it did not do much in helping many schools.

Many schools receive funding from property taxes from the city in which the school is located. In a very wealthy city, they will have higher property taxes than a more impoverished city and are able to allocate funds and resources to invest in their schools. 

A school with an impoverished population would be unable to do so. Because of this, I think that Alabama State Department of Education Funding should be distributed more equitably among public K-12 schools. 

Many of the students and the families of those who attend disadvantaged schools do not have the extra time or resources to donate to their schools. Many of these students are in their school system because that is where they happen to live due to their parents and the affordability of the area. 

Parents are working multiple jobs to make ends meet and provide a good quality of life for their children. Students are falling asleep in class because they are working night jobs to help their parents or guardians pay bills, and we are expecting them to pay more for their education. 

What does that say about us as a society?

I have found that growing up going to a school in the Jefferson County School System, which had less funding due to where we were located, we were unable to receive many “benefits” for our school. Some of these “benefits” included textbooks for our advanced placement courses, student desks, doors on bathroom stalls and most forms of technology.

Students who attend schools that are in higher-income areas have more privilege than those who don't. They also did not get to choose where they got to live, but they got a better chance at a better quality of education.

Their parents or guardians have the ability and resources to provide them with a better quality of life by giving them a better education. They are capable of donating resources to the school that their child attends.

Because one group of people is capable of financially supporting their child through supporting their school, we expect all people to be capable of doing so, which is an impossible and unfair standard to hold people to.

Although many may believe that equality is the best thing in the world and it is what we need to be striving toward, it is not. We need to recognize people’s differences and recognize what people need to succeed. 

Right now, school funding is being distributed equally, which when I was younger, I thought was fair, but as I grew older, I saw how unfair it actually is. Many schools and students – just as I experienced – are being punished for where they live, something they have absolutely no control over. 

They are receiving a lower quality of education because of the funding they are receiving. While all schools receiving funding from the State Department is important, it is the amount they receive to help students succeed that is just as important.

Parents who understand what I am talking about and feel the same way — stand up for your child’s education.

Students who understand how their educational opportunities are being disadvantaged — stand up for your education.

Start by emailing the Alabama Department of Education and the School Board District in your area.

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Hannah Rowe is an undergrad majoring in social work at Auburn University. 

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