WCP: The Education Campaign: Addressing Inequality through Teaching and Learning?

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Teachers Carla Smith and Laura Johnson pose for a picture with their third grade class at Jesse Sherwood Elementary School in the Englewood neighbourhood in Chicago, Illinois, United States, September 23, 2015. Nearly three years after Taliban gunmen shot Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, the teenage activist last week urged world leaders gathered in New York to help millions more children go to school. World Teachers' Day falls on 5 October, a Unesco initiative highlighting the work of educators struggling to teach children amid intimidation in Pakistan, conflict in Syria or poverty in Vietnam. Even so, there have been some improvements: the number of children not attending primary school has plummeted to an estimated 57 million worldwide in 2015, the U.N. says, down from 100 million 15 years ago. Reuters photographers have documented learning around the world, from well-resourced schools to pupils crammed into corridors in the Philippines, on boats in Brazil or in crowded classrooms in Burundi.  REUTERS/Jim Young PICTURE 31 OF 47 FOR WIDER IMAGE STORY "SCHOOLS AROUND THE WORLD"SEARCH "EDUCATORS SCHOOLS" FOR ALL IMAGES - RTS2DVV

Many Americans believe education is the cure for our nation’s ills, but the Presidential candidates have been mostly quiet on the issue. In this week’s Working-Class Perspectives post, Sherry Linkon explores the policy proposals laid out by Hillary Clinton as they pertain to inequality and the treatment of teachers.

What really got my attention, though, is that Clinton’s site presents education as both reflecting economic and racial inequality and having the potential to reduce it. Of course, neither attention to the achievement gap nor the idea that better education gives people more economic opportunity is new. But the site makes an especially strong case for the importance of inequalities in education. It includes a section with nine charts detailing, in very simple and powerful images, the multiple ways that education mirrors economic and racial inequality in the U.S.

The charts document increasing segregation, higher drop out rates and lower test scores among black and Latino students than among whites, the low incomes of kindergarten teachers, and the country’s relatively low rate of college completion, among other things. The page ends with the claim, drawn from the Center for American Progress, that closing the education gap would strengthen the economy.

Take a moment to read the post in its entirety and check out other Working-Class Perspectives on our website.

The Working-Class Perspectives blog is brought to you by our Visiting Scholar, John Russo, and Georgetown University English professor, Sherry Linkon. It features several regular and guest contributors.