joseph_ledoux's picture
Professor of Neural Science, Psychology, Psychiatry, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU; Director Emotional Brain Institute; Author, Anxious
Educational Inequities

As a nation we pay lip service to the idea that we're all created equal. But the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Is this because the poor have bad brains that can't learn to do better, or because their brains never get the opportunity to learn? We know that even the best of brains needs input from the environment to form and flourish. So why do we allow schools in poor neighborhoods, as a rule, to be so much worse?

The difference is less about race than about class. Shouldn't education be more standardized from neighborhood to neighborhood, city to city, and state to state? Improvement of educational opportunities wouldn't solve all the problems the poor face, but is an obvious place to start. Critics of liberal social policy often claim that pouring money into a situation doesn't help. I'm not suggesting that the poor get anything extra, just that they get what others get. A decent education is a right not a privilege.