The problems with location-based school assignment are many and varied. So to say that it is the “best” way to educate America’s children lands far from ringing true. There are many other ways, both proposed and yet to be thought of. Unfortunately, transitioning into an entirely new school system doesn’t happen overnight, and the current system will linger for quite some time before America sees it replaced by something better. However, as the flaws become more apparent with the current system, people are beginning to see that a more equal education is required if our next generation is to compete with other countries in the arena of global education.
One of the most damaging problems to the public school system that arises from location-based education deals with how funds are gathered for these location-based schools. In this system, funding for the schools comes from taxes gathered within the region to which the school caters. On the surface, this seems a logical system: those who live in the community that the children attend pay for those children’s education. The problem, though, is that a grave disparity exists between one school district’s funds and the next. A school based in a rural community has less funds and fewer citizens to draw tax money from than a school based in a city, and a school based in an impoverished neighborhood draws less funds from its low-income residents than a school based in a high-income neighborhood.
This leads to (generally) the children of the rich getting a better education than the children of the middle-class families, who in turn get a better education than their poor counterparts. For a more in-depth look at this situation, Jonathan Kozal’s book “The Shame of the Nation” demonstrates the massiveness of the disparity at great length. The level of education across the country should be universal; just because a child grows up in a rural area does not mean he’s meant to be a farmer his entire life. He might want to go to college, get a degree, and become a member of the trained elite of the country, like becoming a doctor or a lawyer. Being born rich or poor doesn’t mean you’re born smart or dumb, but the way location-based education pans out, it seems that the educational system thinks that way.
This educational system also limits a family’s mobility when looking at education for their children. If a family is unhappy with the way their local school deals in education, the only options really available are sending the child to private school, which is most likely extremely costly and not feasible for many working families, or moving out of the district and enrolling into another school, which involves uprooting the entire family (and is also quite unfeasible for most families) just so the children can have a decent education, something that should be available to each and every child.
It may very well be that there is no perfect educational system. But as it is, American children are suffering more and more when it comes to their education. Location-based education limits the level of their education to how wealthy a neighborhood they live in and offers few options to change to a different, possibly nearby school that offers a superior education without extreme personal costs to the family.