By Caledonia Gerner
Why does it seem that the more money you have the more you get to learn?
Humboldt State University Instructor, Maria Corral-Ribordy, said that it is the system in America as a whole that is creating the disparity between poor and rich students.
“As long as human needs are less important than the interest in capital substantive changes to institutional practices such as education will not be materialized,” Ribordy said.
Ribordy said that in the United States so much money is put into the prison system that it is put first over public schools and education.
“We live in a society that is prioritizing the capital interests found in the prison industrial complex thus they need a reliable source of prisoners to populate the prisons and maximize the prophets and the easiest way to ensure that is by depriving certain communities to access of meaningful education,” Ribordy said.
“The gap is intentional.”
Ribordy also said that she knows that the responsibility of accommodating lower income students cannot rest solely on the teachers but she tries and does her part.
“It isn’t the teachers sole responsibility to accommodate poverty, but I do know that not all students have access to computers and other things and I try to accommodate that,” Ribordy said.
“I am aware. I am mindful but I also know I can’t fix it.”
Ribordy said that in order to fix the problem of poverty and education we need to actually address the problem after that we can give every child the same opportunity in education.
“Part of the solution is to point out the elephant in the room,” Ribordy said.
“In order to fix poverty we can start by implementing an equal opportunity for every child in every income.”
Sacramento City college student and Teabo Café worker Madeline Woo, 18, said that her parents wanted her to go to school, but school wasn’t always where she wanted to be.
“My parents wanted me to go to school,” Woo said, “but public school was always really stressful, the teachers would always get really mad at me and I would always try to look focused in elementary school, in Junior High and high school I felt like I was trying but it felt like it was always too late.”
Woo said that if her teachers, parents or society had explained what was so important about college and learning she would have cared more.
“If teachers had just been more positive,” Woo said. “Maybe if people just talked about the future more. It was all about getting into college but never why we should get into college.”
Woo said that having a lower income changes things for kids who are trying to go to school.
“If they have a low income they aren’t motivated because their parents didn’t make money,” Woo said. “So why should they?”
Da Vinci Charter Academy teacher in Davis CA, Alison Kimmel, 45, said that impoverished students do have a harder time inside of school partially because they have a harder time outside of school.
“If you have a family with a lower income the parents may be working multiple jobs the physical presence isn’t there, they aren’t the PTA parents,” Kimmel said.
“Drives come internally and externally and there is so much out there to pull you in different directions.”
Kimmel also spoke about the difficulties some of her students and lower income or minority students face in a place like Davis.
“Hispanics don’t make up 75 percent of my school but they make up 75 percent of my reading class and that is a disparity,” Kimmel said. “Reading starts before kids can read it’s about knowing what a book is, it’s about being read to. In lower income families there isn’t access to time or books so they already come in behind going into kindergarten.
“The whole time I’ve been a teacher I have worked in the Davis Joint Unified School District and I know Davis is a hard place to be impoverished, everyone tries so hard to fit it.”
HSU Spanish major Maeve Talamantes, 19, shared her thoughts on school.
“My parents taught me that school was the most important thing,” Talamantes said.
“I do think it is important that every person has an opportunity to school but not everybody cares about school.”
“I think anything worth having costs, including education,” Talamantes said. “You get what you pay for.”