Zip codes are used in the United States to indicate location, but today they are a predictor of educational success (Ireland). Education is essential to the progression of our nation, yet many Americans do not know that there are major differences in education between states, communities, schools, and countries. I know that inequality of education is problematic because our country needs to promote equal academic success and in return our country in itself will flourish in the future. Factors that increase educational inequality are the wealth gap, school funding, private vs. public vs. charter schools, ethnic background, and of course location.

In the article The Costs of Inequality: Education is Key to It All by Corydon Ireland, explains many aspects of academic inconsistencies in America. Ireland discussed how Deval Patrick  started out as a “poor black school child” in the south-side of Chicago and now he is the governor of Massachusetts. Ultimately governor Patrick escaped the predetermined poor future of Chicago students through a strong education. He attended Milton and Harvard and he believes that “[e]ducation has been the path to better opportunity for generations of American strivers, no less for [him]”, and for being a kid growing up in the south-side of Chicago, it’s huge (Ireland). For Governor Patrick, education changed his life for the better, yet “in the world’s most prosperous major nation, it remains an elusive goal for millions of children and teenagers” (Ireland).

According to Ronald Ferguson- director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative- educational opportunities and gains have plateaued, but also the wealth gap “between white and minority students” is growing as well (Ireland). This means that more and more students are missing out on increasing academic opportunities. Even so, as specified by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States ranks 20 out of 34 market-based democratic countries, in which students earn average and below-average grades in reading, science, and math (Ireland). Holistically, American students in general have an unequal educational opportunities compared to other countries.

Ireland includes many more perspectives on the cause and effects of educational inequality in the United States. I thoroughly enjoyed his article; however, I can not help but think about how America can address and fix the inequality of education. Should our nation spend more tax money on education? What about changing school calendars and curriculums? Can we choose what school children should go to, in order to increase diversity and equity? Nonetheless, it is an absolute embarrassment that zip codes determine students educational prosperity.

Works Cited

Ireland, Corydon. The Cost of Inequality: Education Is the Key to It All. Washington D.C., U.S News, 2016. Accessed 17 Nov. 2016.

Photo Credit

Gordon, Taylor. GOP Legislatures Fighting to Keep Money Out of Poor Schools. Atlanta, Atlanta Black Star, 2014. Accessed 17 Nov. 2016.

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December 6, 2016 3:05 am

I have never thought about zip codes being a determining factor or defining factor regarding level of education and educational opportunities, so I thought this was a very interesting point that you brought attention to. Additionally, I agree strongly with you that this issue must not go unaddressed. We are supposed to be a country that values education highly, although it seems we are not living up to this idea. No child should have less opportunity when it comes to education because of where they live. While I, too, don’t know what the solution is to this problem, we must find one quickly!

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