Educational Inequality

Definition: Educational inequality describes the lack of equal opportunities that people have as a result of disparities in quality education or other factors.

Educational Inequality

Vast educational inequalities exist globally and domestically.  For example, see the pages on illiteracy.

Educational inequities persist along socioeconomic and racial lines.  Consider the following:

  • More then one billion adults in the world are illiterate.
  • According to the United Nations, of these one billion illiterate adults, over 2/3rds are women.
  • Fourth grade students who grow up in poorer, low-income communities are already about three grade levels behind their peers in high-income communities (TFA, 2008).
  • About 50% of these students won’t graduate from high school by the time they are 18 (TFA, 2008). 
    Only one in ten will graduate from college.
  • Only about seven out of 120 seventh-grade students in a North Carolina school knew the name of the President of the United States, Christina Bortey of Teach for America said.

As the Teach for America website describes, these educational inequities unfairly limit the life prospects of the over 13 million children who grow up in poverty in America today.  These disparities tend to disproportionately impact minorities — groups including African-American, Latino/Hispanic, and Native American children, who are three times as likely to live in a low-income area (TFA, 2008).

Children in low-income communities and regions in the world often face challenges such as poor healthcare, nutrition, and inadequate housing.  Schools and school systems often lack the same resources to meet students’ full potential.  Often times there are not enough teachers and leaders in schools.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Check out our page on Teach for America, a nonprofit organization that provides an opportunity to teach for two years in places of need.
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