The answer to that question will depend on where you live — and not just because that determines what state rules and regulations will apply.
But if your public school is located a block from subsidized housing – unless that subsidized housing is the White House – your school will not have the best of everything. As Anthony Abraham Jack, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, explained to me, “To understand where students are going, you have to know where they come from. … A zip code can tell you so much more about where a child is going to end up than any other fact that you can learn about that child.”
And that was before Covid-19. So while all public schools are working hard to figure out how to respond to the pandemic, unequal funding means there will be very different levels of what that response looks like.
While Shaw is “hacking the system” by teaching career and tech courses that can give students the opportunity to make adult wages as nursing assistants and hair stylists, over at Shaker Heights students are encouraged to spend their after-school time with activities that would make a well-rounded college application — including a video game club. A VIDEO GAME CLUB!!! Although nothing says, “We are doing all right financially!” more than a school with a planetarium. Shaker has that too.
“If we don’t educate our younger generation, then what does that generation become?” she said to me during filming for “United Shades of America.” “Because if you don’t have an education, what do you do for income? What do you do for housing? What do you do to maintain a life?”
To me, it feels like we shouldn’t have this disparity for the millions of students enrolled in public schools across the country. If parents want to fund their kids’ local institution, that’s fine — but that shouldn’t make the difference between having a good school and a bad one, and definitely not in the middle of a pandemic.