caliber of the institution played a “somewhat important role.” Only “4% don’t care about the name on an employer’s degree”. The perception of security that comes with winning one of those job positions, and the subsequent scramble to move up the socioeconomic totem pole, has led to what The Washington Post in 2017 calls “Ivy League mania”.To put it simply, Americans believe that the course of their life (and their family’s) can be defined by a single acceptance letter. The reality behind that assumption, though, is nothing more than a myth – the degree of our success outcome starts far before an application.
Where the Pipeline BeginsFunding, particularly in America’s public schools, lays the groundwork for our story. Depending on the amount of money spent per child in a given school district, students are afforded varying degrees of educational and extracurricular opportunities – today, however, there is widespread inequity in the distribution of funds.According to the Education Law Center’s 2021 “Making the Grade” report, “Per-student spending ranges widely from state to state and varies considerably from year to year, depending on property values, tax revenues, budgetary constraints, and political conditions.” In low-income districts, where property values and tax revenues are lower, for example, schools in those districts get less funding.In Chicago’s Ridge School District, where ⅔ of students come from low-income families, spending per student is $9,794. In Chicago’s Rondout School District, located in an affluent suburb less than an hour north, per student spending sits at a whopping $28,639. While the state of Illinois gives more money to Ridge than Rondout through Title I funding, the playing field is hardly equalized.While Hawai’i is the only state to not use property taxes as a source of funding for public schools, inequity still exists and persists. Hawai’i currently spends $11,822 per student in its sole district, which, on face value, is similar to the national average. However, Ray L’Heureux, chairman and president of the Education Institute of Hawai’i, asserts that analyzing the funding amount this way is misleading – a fairer comparison would look at school districts with similar high costs of living. When Hawai’i is pinned up against New York City’s $24,100 and Washington D.C.’s $19,150, there is a glaring gap in the allocation of our resources. When our funding is inequitable, moreover, student achievement outcomes are inequitable. A 2019 study conducted by the Center for American Progress found that increased spending on