Unfortunately, school districts that primarily serve non-White students receive less funding than school districts that primarily serve White students. A report by EdBuild found that predominantly non-White school districts get $23 billion less than predominantly White school districts despite serving the same number of students.
That funding gap can be a big obstacle to overcome. But that funding gap doesn’t mean that non-White kids are never going to college and are never going to have a great career. Students in underfunded school districts somehow have to make up for the extra resources their school district is lacking. I believe that family support is the most important thing a kid can have when it comes to their education.
I was fortunate enough to go to a school that was decently funded and didn’t have a lot of overworked, underpaid teachers. I acknowledge that I was (and am) privileged. While the quality of my school didn’t hurt my chances to go to college, there was something even more fundamental which I found to be far more helpful than anything my teachers ever did.
What really mattered was the support of my parents. Early on, they instilled in me the importance of school. My mom went to college but never graduated. My dad never went to college. They wanted me to be the first in my family to graduate from college.
They would always push me to learn as much as I could. I remember my mom taking me to the library as often as she could when I was a kid. My love of reading, and by extension my love of learning, has never gone away. In fact, it’s gotten stronger. I wholeheartedly attribute my educational success to my parents’ support. Their support was the most valuable thing I had in high school, and it didn’t even cost a penny.
I’m in college right now, attending both the University of Saskatchewan (in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; for chemical engineering) and the University of the People (online, based in Pasadena, CA; for business administration). I’m going on an internship with an oil and gas company next month. I’m so very fortunate to have had the chance to study at these universities and to have gotten the opportunities I have. I owe all my educational success to my parents, who supported me no matter what.
I encourage everyone with children still in school, particularly those in underfunded school districts, to support their children in their education as best as you can. Take them to the library. Make sure they’re doing their homework. Be there to listen when they tell you about what they learned that day at school. Doing so will go a long way to helping them succeed in their education.
Matthew Taylor is pursuing a BSc in chemical engineering at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. At the same time, he is pursuing a BSc in Business Administration online at the University of the People in Pasadena, California. He will be interning with a major Canadian oil and gas company in the summer.