There is a great inequality that exists in America today that is often ignored or not properly taken care of. This inequality is the inconsistency of the quality of education that each child receives. There are many factors that contribute to this inequality like parental support, availability of education, and the individual themselves, just to name a few. One of the many factors that contribute to a lower quality of education is a lower socioeconomic status. Those with a lower economic status often have harder time getting quality education. This results in entire regions of people with a lower socioeconomic status and therefore schools to be less funded in that area. This furthers the effects of the lower quality of education, “Children in low-income schools are less likely to have well-qualified teachers (Clotfelter, Ladd, & Vigdo, 2006).” (qtd in American Psychological Association). Teachers, who are less qualified are unable to fully help the students in their area and many students are left in the same situation of a lower quality of education. This can lead to only obtaining lower paying jobs which can lead to the creation of a lower socioeconomic status for the next generation. Socioeconomic status therefore, is often a major contributor to the quality of education that is given to an individual. Therefore, programs that focus on giving a higher quality of education to those who cannot afford it, like Center for Champions does, are vital to the education of the nation.
Center for Champions is an after-school program that focuses on the importance of math and reading skills while also including one on one mentoring and a Bible lesson. This program allows students from inter-city Harrisburg, primarily a low socioeconomic status region, who struggle with either math or reading to come work on math drills and read books with the help of a mentor. This is highly influential as “Children from lower SES households are about twice as likely as those from high-SES households to display learning-related behavior problems. A mother’s SES is also related to her child’s inattention, disinterest, and lack of cooperation in school (Morgan et al., 2009).” (qtd in American Psychological Association). This allows the students who have fallen behind the average curve in their education to be able to reach their full academic potential. The one on one mentoring allows the student to also build relationships with their mentor and therefore be more comfortable with their mentor. This approach is unique as most other after-school programs have one teacher assigned to multiple students. Overall Center for Champions goal is “In the near future, Center for Champions expects to have all youth matched with a caring, Christian adult mentor.” (Center for Champions).
This idea of a mentor who supports the child in their work and pursuit of academic excellence has a huge impact of the child’s motivation, “A study showed that individuals from a lower social class generally had less career-related self-efficacy when it came to vocational aspirations (Ali, McWhirter, & Chronister, 2005).” (qtd in American Psychological Association). Therefore, when someone invests effort and time into their education and believes in the student it has great effects on the motivation of the student. Not only that, but the mentors are able to act a role models for the students so that they can better perform not only in school but also life outside of school.
At first, education may seem to only play a minor role in the development of a person but it plays a huge role. Educated individuals often hold higher aspirations and have a general idea on how to obtain these aspirations. Many professionals say that we have more students enrolling in college and therefore the gap in education inequality must be decreasing. This though is not the case as “Although an increasing number of students have enrolled in postsecondary institutions over the last several decades, there are still differences in the characteristics of students who complete various levels of postsecondary education.” (Musu-Gillette). A study that started in 2002 randomly selected high school sophomore students from low, middle, and high socioeconomic statuses and then went back to them ten years later to see what level of education they had achieved. This resulted in shocking facts as
“Seven percent of low-SES students had not completed high school by 2012… [but only] Fourteen percent of low-SES students who were high school sophomores in 2002 had earned a bachelor’s or higher degree… [compared to that of] 60 percent of high-SES students who earned a bachelor’s or higher degree.”. (Musu Gillette)
This major separation of thirty-six percent more students in a high socioeconomic status compared to that of a low obtaining a bachelor’s degree is quite alarming and must be addressed.
This problem has been addressed in the past with programs pushing for more equality in the school system and while these programs have had positive effects but the inequality still exists. Other programs have had multiple methods like changing laws, after-school programs, and changing the school system as a whole. Many laws push for no discrimination of college acceptances due to low income or focus on making the funding more equal. While these efforts are important they often take time and often are not implemented quickly, therefore not effecting the current generation. Others have implemented after-school programs like Center for Champions but often do more a group setting which helps the students but can lead to students not getting the one-on-one help that they need. Finally the some look to alter the general curriculum which is helpful but does not necessarily solve the inequality of education. Other efforts have been scholarships, government aid, and community colleges which have helped decrease the overall separation. Center for Champions is a program that focuses on implementing after-school programs that help student one-on-one to help them reach their academic potential.
Center for Champions is far from perfect though as it has its limitations and is still relatively small with only one location which is expanding to two next year. Center for Champions is also volunteer based for the most part and can only take as many students as they get volunteers. Also Center for Champions focuses on helping the students learn math drills and read books instead of the child’s actual homework. While learning these basic skills needed by drills they may need more advanced help in their actual homework. Despite these flaws within Center for Champions they still serve a decent group of students as “49 youth are matched with a mentor at Center for Champions.” (Center for Champions).