How America's Income Gap And Educational Inequality Are Linked

America's Income Gap And Educational Inequality Are Worth Talking About, Even If It's Not Easy

Let's talk money!

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Last week, I wrote generally on educational inequality in college. This week, I would like to begin an in-depth analysis of this problem starting with what I believe to be the onset problem: income inequality.

As we have previously discussed, the inequality in education begins well before children enter the school system and its effects are life long. If we start at the beginning, we can see that income equality is the beginning of the vicious yet repetitious cycle of the inequalities in our education system.

Income inequality is the persistent income gap we have in America that began to grow around the 1970s and continues to thrive today. This means that the Americans at the top of the economic food chain are pulling further away from the rest of the nation and have been noticeably for the past 30 years.

Income inequality can be defined as the unequal distribution of income, wages, or wealth among the United States population. The income gap that continues to grow can be partly attributed to the "contest" or "American Dream" mindset most Americans have grown up learning about.

Americans are taught that with hard work and dedication, we can amount to anything regardless of race, class, gender, or sexual orientation, but this could not be further from reality. The reality is, most of the time we end up within the same socioeconomic status as our parents.

Several studies have shown that there is little room for upward social mobility in the U.S. which could be partly due to the infrastructure of our country beginning in the late 1970s. During this time, there were several changes regarding tax, unionization, and policies on wages and employment. Therefore, if everybody has neutral social mobility, meaning they do not move up or down, the rich will stay rich, and the poor will remain poor; thus, a continuous income gap.

Income inequality in the United States can also be attributed to the difference in wages among skilled workers and labor workers. Despite the reasons that have to lead to the income gap in America, there is no doubt it exists and impacts everyone despite our socioeconomic status because it affects the overall growth of our nation.

The issue of income equality is relevant because it impacts our society, specifically our education system. The U.S. argues to be a fair contest, offering free and equal education based on a standard curriculum, essentially preparing all children for the same future rather than focusing on their specific strengths and talents. Along with this is the simple fact that those parents on the top of the economic food chain are offering their children opportunities, that parents on a fixed income cannot provide their children.

This leads to an early advantage among the wealthier children that begins before they enter school and is consistent throughout the rest of their lives. Studies have consistently shown time and time again the importance of preschool education. In addition to the normal intellectual learning that takes place, the children learn how to socialize with their peers at an early age developing better communication skills.

This difference in education only grows once enrolled a common curriculum that does not even out the playing field but just makes it more significant by preparing all children for the same future and this is why those skills learned at an early age in addition to several others is a critical factor in continued success.

Private school is one of the most defining factors of income and educational inequality. Any family not earning more than the median household income of $61,372 is not even considering the possibility of a private school, nor do they have time to understand the "ins and outs" of magnet vs. charter schools to provide their children with the best possible opportunities. Studies have shown the positive impact of extracurricular activities, and despite many efforts to reduce out of pocket costs, these activities, organized sports and club leagues are still out of reach for many families.

All of these advantages carry over and further the gap when these children are rounding out their high school careers. The same children who could not afford private school and organized sports are now not applying for college because they can not afford to take the SATs and ACTs more than the one time they are offered in public school. Therefore, they can not attempt to "super score." They also cannot afford the inflated application fees that come with higher education.

The few children from these families that make it to college continue to experience significant issues and challenges because their financial situation still does not often improve. Most times it will worsen because now their family is struggling to meet the needs of a college student.

Once you are behind, it becomes harder and harder to catch up, and this struggle is often accompanied by mental and emotional challenges that can be further discouraging. I believe that by addressing the serious issue of income inequality in America, we can begin to repair a broken education system and provide equal opportunities for all Americans and place within reach a better quality of life across our society.

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Overvaluing Assets Is The Most Harmful Cause Of Financial Crisis

There are a number of causes behind financial crisis, and arguably the worst is the overvaluing of assets.

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Hundreds of years ago, financial crises were insulated. It was a problem that a country would face on its own. If one country plummeted, others would face little to no struggles in relation.

Today's economy has been globalized. Investment banks are global. Oil companies are global. Free trade is encouraged, and the exchange of goods and prices have high interconnectivity. As a result, a financial crisis in either the United States, China, or the United Kingdom can have a rippling effect on the rest of the world.

There are a variety of things that can cause a financial crisis. One of the most harmful is the overvaluing of assets. Overvaluing assets caused both The Great Depression and the 2008 Financial Crisis. What is overvaluing assets, and how does it really harm the economy?

The overvaluing of assets typically originates in the stock market. That's how it started both in 2008 and 1929. To better understand overvaluing assets, we can study the 2008 financial crisis.

Banks were engaging in risky lending practices in 2008 like sub-prime loans and mortgage-backed securities.

Subprime Lending: Typically banks don't lend to individuals with low credit or little collateral. In the '90s however, banks began to engage in this sort of lending. This made it easier for people, in general terms, to purchase homes. As a result, the demand for homes rose quickly.

Mortgage-backed Securities: Banks also started to trade mortgage-backed securities. These were essentially bundles of a hundred mortgages, packed together. These securities were categorized by risk and being sold and bought by different banks. But banks knew little to nothing about the ability of these borrowers to pay back their mortgages. Despite that, the securities were being traded.

Eventually, low credit borrowers began to default on the loans. The sub-prime loan business began to tank, recouping little to nothing on their loans. Even further, the mortgage-backed securities were valued significantly higher than what they were worth.

A simple example follows. Banks had originally believed they may get 70% of the borrowed money back. They reported such numbers as assets in their books. But since they didn't really know much about the mortgage-backed security they purchased, they were surprised to find out high rates of borrowers were defaulting. They were making pennies on the dollar. The public began to notice and as a result, lowered stock investments into these banks. The stock market began to decline, and financial institutions were losing tons of money.

In situations where banks are closing and need money, there are two options:

1) get a loan from another bank, or

2) get a loan from the Federal Reserve.

But banks were afraid to make loans to each other because they didn't know the real value of the banks who were borrowing. Would they be paid back or not? So loans from banks to save other banks declined. Interbank lending dried up.

This led to a credit crunch. Banks were afraid to loan to everyone. If you weren't a top of the shelf creditor, you weren't getting a loan from the banks in 2008. Because of this, saving increased and spending declined. Banks weren't making investments in firms or households. Capital decreased dramatically. Without a loan, how can a business buy all the new equipment they need? How can they finance some of their more costly processes? Businesses closed.

In the end, the decrease in capital led to lower levels of productivity, creating a vicious cycle of crisis.

There are a few things that can be done to fix it. In this situation, the Federal Reserve did its best to preserve financial institutions. They "bailed out" the banks. The economy took years to recover, even after the necessary measures were taken. This sort of financial crisis can be dangerous for an inept economy. But at times it can be difficult to avoid such situations. There is little that can be done to anticipate this sort of situation. Questionable bank practices are difficult to monitor, let alone their impact on the economy.

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