Inequality is pervasive in every aspect of our society. From housing to food access, public facilities to police brutality, job opportunity to everything in between, we must always be mindful of the incredible injustices that seep into every aspect of our country. It is easy to forget, especially as students, that this continues into our own institutions.
As members and consumers of a private educational institution, we must recognize our own immense privilege. Sure, we can complain about our tuitions all we want, call ourselves “poor college students” as we buy that $15 organic sandwich, or complain about our cramped $900 a month apartments. But nothing will diminish the fact that education itself is a system that more and more in this country only benefits those with wealth and power. Sure, we’re no Ivy League, but all of us, by paying into this institution, are part of a higher class of our society.
There is a correlation between the ranking of a school, its endowment, and where it gets its funding from. Private high schools send students to private universities, and public school students are far more likely to attend a state school or community college. Yet most of those in private high schools already came from contexts that allowed them to pay for a better education, while those of the lower economic class are unable to benefit as much from their education. This doesn’t end after graduation. Graduates of private institutions, on average, make more money than graduates of public institutions, as 12 of the top 15 most wealthy alumni attended private institutions. These graduates will then send their children to private primary educational institutions, and those children will go on to private universities. Thus the cycle and distribution of wealth stays in the hands of the wealthy. Couple this with reduced public education budgets and a rift forming between rich private schools and even richer private schools and a societal problem arises.
Education is the only way to better oneself, to invest in your own human potentiality. In this country, that fundamental right is more and more based off of willingness to pay, and determinates that are out of our hands.
–Jason Bono, News & Managing Editor