Contributed by Afifa Tanisa

The United States of America, one of the 20 countries with the best education systems in the world, has over 25 million children who are subject to physical and emotional harm at school.

According to the Global Campaign, in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act was passed aiming to provide a complete and useful education to all students in the US, yet so many children are not getting one. And do you want to know the reason why so many children are far from a fair education?

The answer is actually very simple: Federal Funding. Federal funding is the reason that 25 million children don’t have all their needs met. Federal funding is the reason 25 million children are subject to physical and emotional abuse instead of educational support. The federal government must provide equal funding to all schools across the country, regardless of student demographic or location.

Today, I’m telling you, I’m lucky. You are lucky. We’re all lucky that we have access to quality education. And although sometimes we get angry at our education system, we can’t deny that we are being given a fair education. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore the children who are out of school or whose schools are worse than prison cells.

What I fail to understand is why the federal government is being unfair to those children? We’re all children, and if I can have a fair education and if you can have a fair education, why can’t those children have a fair education? WHY?

The federal government must provide equal funding to all schools across the US. First, schools provide every child with a vital education. Schools also provide children with many of the things needed to survive. The federal government is giving money to schools, but that money is not equally distributed.

Schools provide children with an education that travels with them all throughout their lives, and by giving every school the same funding, the government will secure the future of every child.

According to Georgetown University, by 2025, more than 65% of jobs will require an education beyond high school.

A lack of federal funding for schools will be the reason that over 25 million children are at risk of not having a job. And more than the federal government, we will be at fault because we are not taking action against inadequate funding for schools in impoverished neighborhoods.

We have access to an education, so we don’t have to worry so much about our future. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore the children whose schools give more pain than being buried underground. No one has the right to ruin their future, yet our government is directly ruining their lives.

Who gave them that right? Because the children and their families did not! We must call the federal government to provide the same amount of funding to schools in Mott Haven, Bronx as the schools in Park Slope, Brooklyn. In rural neighborhoods, we don’t give children access to moral education, yet we expect them to perform exceptionally well. What kind of logic is that?

Schools also provide children with meals, shelter and safety; by providing adequate federal funding to all schools, our government can assure every child that there is a place near their home where they’ll be safe.

According to the US Department of Education, over 22 million children attending school in the US have limited access to food at home; the meal they get at school is their only meal. Nowadays, many schools, especially in rural communities where this problem is the biggest, aren’t even able to provide their students with those meals due to a lack of money.

How is that fair to those children who are already looking for ways to escape the miseries they’re suffering at home? You tell me! For schools like Brown’s Town High School, the government can provide money to install metal detectors, but they can’t provide money to increase the amount of food they can supply and the safety of their school environment, and then they expect the students to perform well in an underdeveloped and alarming environment.

What kind of logic is that? The government must provide equal funding to all schools so every school in this country is capable of supplying their students with two meals a day and making their environment safe and resilient to crime, and that will allow every child to, not only enroll in full-time education but feel safe and confident at their schools.

The federal government provides enough funding for schools, but they don’t provide equal funding. According to findlaw.com, for the 2013-14 school year, less than 11% of funding for public schools came from the federal government. That is actually a lot of money, but schools in impoverished communities, all throughout the country, received less than 3% of that funding. How cruel is that? And do you want to know how that happened?

The government gives the responsibility to the states to distribute the money. The state passes that to the local government and the local government passes it to the district, and soon it all becomes a game of politics; schools that have a good connection with the officials receive more funding. EDUCATION IS NOT A GAME OF POLITICS! You must understand that, so if you can’t help the cause, don’t harm it!

On one side of the city lies an elegant, ten-story, rewarding high school with over 98% graduation rate, and on the other side of the city lies a poor, three-story, forfeiting, and grisly school with a less than 34% graduation rate. This divide will not end until the federal government rethinks the ESSA and ensures equal funding for all schools.

Schools are an important part of our lives; they make us reflect on our past, rethink our present, and prepare us for our future. The children who attend impoverished schools in the United States are basically denied freedom since they aren’t given access to a fair education. Schools are also a place where children can receive physical, mental, and emotional support.

They provide students with comfort, and no child can be deprived of this right. The amount of funding the federal government provides under the ESSA is not distributed evenly to support the education of all students in the US.

Therefore, the federal government must provide equal funding to all schools across the country by changing elements of the ESSA. But this is not possible without your help. Yes, you. But you must be wondering, what can I do? There’s so much you can do. Visit change.org today and sign the petition for equal funding for schools.

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