Redistribution of funding key part of education reform

By Adam Sachs
Published: April 2010

When thought of as animals in an evolutionary process, which indeed they are, humans have every right to be selfish: self-survival in order to pass on one’s traits is the primary purpose of any evolving organism.
Naturally, most humans put their self-interest at the forefront of their mind, looking to fulfill their evolutionary goal of living to reproduce.

As long as it does not clearly hinder the survival of our species in general, selfishness cannot be looked at as an unnatural or unjustified trait.

From this reasoning arises the mindset of many US citizens regarding public school systems in our country. “Unselfishly, our modern day suburban community permits urban schools to receive a disproportionate amount of funding, a funding they do not “deserve, but rather a funding we donate to them out of generosity.

Their participants contributing significantly fewer tax dollars than suburban citizens, urban schools are lucky to be receiving the amount of state and federal aid they receive.

To shift our states’ or nation’s funding priorities even more towards urban schools than what they are now is, according to the reasoning above, an “unnatural thought.

A distribution so incommensurate to the amount contributed conflicts strongly with the “natural instinct and “right of self-preservation.

The justification of selfishness must be reexamined: although an evolutionary mindset justifies selfishness, it does not necessarily deem it the most advantageous course of action.

Unselfishness, when used appropriately, distinguishes humans from other animals. Humans possess an ability to look at issues from an extraordinarily broad viewpoint; if an effort is made, an individual human can determine, and act accordingly with, what is best for a population, even our species in general, rather than what is best for that individual.

By prioritizing communal-interest over self-interest, humans take a step closer to overall species survival, the most pressing evolutionary matter.

Of course, holding humans to such an ideal and organic principle all the time is impractical. With certain issues, though, to strive for such unselfish ideals is necessary.

Education, which, in large part, determines the ability for individuals to elevate themselves in society, to put themselves in a place where they “rightfully and “naturally deserve the fruits of our taxation system, requires an altruistic standard.

To allow unequal education in a society is to allow unequal opportunity for its citizens, an idea that contradicts the basis of our country.

Education, the primary force in enabling economic mobility, must be provided equally throughout society. If not, society deprives those born into less affluent environments of fair opportunity to bring themselves out of their desolate environments, an opportunity stressed so highly in our country because of its evolutionary relevance.

By putting the lower class in a perpetual cycle, the denial of equal education degrades the species as a whole, no matter how much “self worth and “self-interest the upper and middle classes salvage.

To treat education fairly, to treat it in the most evolutionarily advantageous way, we must make an effort to be guided less by the accessible justifications of self-interest and more with the responsible open-minded objective of our whole society’s success.

In all facets, a broader perspective will benefit the collective well being of our society, and therefore promote our most basic objective as humans.

To encourage the redistribution of federal or state funds in a manner more adherent to areas’ needs rather than areas’ monetary contributions is to espouse this mindset.

To regard local educational funding issues from a viewpoint that considers Newtonians and Bostonians as one people that deserves equal educational opportunity, a viewpoint that does not promote state funding for a $200 million “state of the art high school while Boston’s graduation rate is 58% (no matter how “deserving we are of this high school), is to espouse this mindset.

The viewpoint I encourage implies drastic changes to the way our city and our country view education, changes likely to occur neither easily nor soon.

But this is no reason for our society to weaken ideals; humans are not only distinctive because of their broad-minded and altruistic possibilities, but also because of their will to fight for merely a concept.

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