Anindya Kundu, a senior fellow at the City University of New York, Graduate Center and author of the book The Power of Student Agency, recently gave a talk on public education and the existing "opportunity gap" in its structure.
He discusses his time with youth at the largest juvenile detention center on the West Side of Chicago, where he talked with individuals from 10 to 16 years old -- most of whom were black or brown -- awaiting to be on trial for various crimes. The time these youth spent there was time they were not in school, and subsequently falling behind their peers. This leads to a huge opportunity gap that's fuelled by a self-fulling prophecy.
Moreover, Kundu references the difference in school funding -- he states that the "majority-white districts receive about 23 billion dollars more in annual funding than nonwhite districts, even though they serve about the same number of students." This means that the resources are lacking including technology and supplies and that teachers are being paid poorly, some of which have turned to food banks to eat.
The speaker also cites a study that states that had this gap bene fixed in 1998, America's GDP in 2008 could have gone up by more than 500 billion dollars. Kundo asks viewers to solve the opportunity gap problem, for the sake of our economy and the principle of democracy -- that no human should have their future worth pre-determined by the circumstances of their birth and that "a public education system should not create a wider bottom and more narrow top." Kundu closes by urging the audience to support the public education system with their voices and votes.