An Interns View: Unequal Education for All

By Rita Iosefson

It’s true. Not every school district on Long Island gets the same funding from New York State. As an elementary education major, my education and sociology classes have exposed me to the large funding gap between school districts. A study conducted at Columbia University Teachers College in 2009 demonstrated the alarming disparities among Long Island’s school districts. Researchers studied five different Long Island school districts, each representing a different demographic, and interviewed 75 school administrators, teachers, students, parents and school board members of these districts.

It is a known fact that resources are more easily diverted to wealthier districts, allowing these systems to offer a wider selection of courses and higher experienced teachers. Students in these districts have a greater chance of moving onto college than students in poorer districts. Poorer districts are challenged to attract better prepared educators and provide other enrichment opportunities.

I went to school in one of the more affluent school districts on Long Island. It is important that I don’t take for granted the opportunities I was given because of where I live. I was able to broadcast on my district funded radio station in high school and I participated in after school activities in middle school. My teachers encouraged me to take advanced classes that would earn me credit towards my bachelor’s degree. These privileges are unavailable to many students within a short driving distance of where I grew up. The Uniondale School District is about a twenty minute drive from my town. This district, along with other disadvantaged school districts on Long Island, has fewer teachers who have earned a master’s degree, as compared to wealthier districts, where 90% of teachers typically have earned a master’s degree.

As a future educator, I would be thankful to teach in a disadvantaged school district, to help bring its reputation up, in hopes of gaining funds from New York State. This is not the same for every aspiring educator, because of district reputations. High income schools, such as Locust Valley and Syosset, spend about $26,000 per student. Low income school districts, such as Roosevelt and Wyandanch, spend about $18,000 per student. This trend exists because lower funded school districts, on average, have to spend more on ESL programs than wealthier districts, leaving fewer funds available for other programs.

I have learned that many students are disadvantaged because their school district is unable to provide the “perks” that others can on our Island. I firmly support the Long Island Progressive Coalition in its efforts to ensure quality education for all of Long Island’s students.

Click here to read more on the study referenced in this post: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/news.htm?articleId=7175

 

Intern’s View: LIPC is helping me understand the inequalities around us

Intern’s View: LIPC is helping me understand the inequalities around us

My name is PJ Lydon and I am a senior in LIU POST.  I have been yearning for a calling in my life and I love to try out different things. Presently, I have four jobs and I am taking 18 credits this semester, my senior year.  My major is sociology with a minor in criminal justice.  My professor and I have been searching for the right internship for me since the spring, when I explained to her that I wanted to be able to help people in need.  My professor, knowing of LIPC’s desire to help Long Islanders with programs such as Power Up Communities, helped guide me to this internship.

I have been an intern in LIPC for just a under a month, here, I work Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.  I have been greeted by a wonderful staff and their diligence to the job inspires me, they are quite passionate about being able to help others. My supervisor is John Delaney, the Office Administrator.  Mr. Delaney is quite the well rounded gentleman, he is constantly working on various projects, is a pleasant speaker, as well as an enthusiastic mentor. With Mr. Delaney’s  guidance, I am doing research to help ensure further development of the organization, as well as making phone calls, which is one of the fundamentals of organizing the principles upon which the LIPC was founded upon.

My main goal is to be a College Professor, one who is able to recognize the social inequalities that face many Americans daily. It is a goal of mind to have the ability to have a job working with emerging adults; I truly enjoy working with people, this has led me to volunteer on campus for a program in which I mentor and guide fellow students studying here from aboard.  The youth are the key in solving inequalities, by learning about the different inequalities of intersectionality.

One area I hope to learn more about and research is gangs.  Their social structures fascinate me; in researching different gangs; I could focus on the reasons why people join them, what draws them to this way of life, and learn about what happens when members leave the gang and rejoin society.  I want there to be a sense of justice in our political system and show people with my research that there needs to be more awareness of the consequences of these need to more aware of the consequences of gangs.

I want a vast knowledge of the inequalities that communities face, the LIPC has been able to show me that working as a whole we could slowly eliminate inequalities and help save people’s money and improve the lives of Long Islanders.  My goal is to improve myself one day at a time; I want to grow my mind, body and soul.