Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2017 – Inadequate Education

Name: Anagha Sreevals
From: Midlothian, Virginia
Grade: 10th
School: Clover Hill High School
Votes: 0

While
visiting family in Kerala, India, I encountered some children who
could not read or write at the age of nine. They could speak and were
evidently bright, but they were unable to obtain the primary
education that they need. Their situations shocked me; schools were
not affordable for them, hence they stayed at home and helped the
family. The situation is different in the United States; there are
free public schools for students to attend, however the education
system cannot cater to the needs of the individual and is leading to
widespread illiteracy. This should not be happening in a country
where almost all children are attending school.

According
to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of
Literacy, thirty-two million adults in the United States cannot read.
About twenty-one percent of adults in the United States read below a
fifth-grade reading level; nineteen percent of high school graduates
can’t read. Similarly, according to the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development, the United States has a below-average
math literacy rate. In the United States, achieving social mobility
is difficult when one’s parents could not achieve proper education.
Therefore, it is crucial to acquire basic education in order to fully
succeed later on.

Although
this situation might be common in several communities, I have
realized through my job at Mathnasium, as a tutor, that students in
my local community are falling behind the curriculum. After falling
behind, catching up becomes extremely difficult. There are fourth
graders who have to use their fingers to do simple arithmetic, such
as adding three and four. While it is possible to catch up to their
grade level, it requires time, effort, and money to get there. This
significantly disadvantages lower-income families who cannot afford
to provide their students with extra help if needed, leading
especially those children to fall behind the curve.

In
order to tackle this situation, I wish to start a program at all
elementary and middle schools during the summer where volunteers
could provide free tutoring and personalized learning plans for
students who need help with reading and mathematics. Students tend to
practice reading and mathematics less during the summer, thus further
minimizing their knowledge and skills. Although libraries provide
reading programs, a program through the school with volunteers and a
individualized plan would allow students to catch up to their grade
level as quickly as possible during the summer. The objective of the
program is to achieve student goals along while effectively preparing
them for the next school year. In order to improve the reading and
math literacy rates in the United States, communities need to provide
aid for students who need help in school, especially those who cannot
afford programs that require a hefty sum of money. Substantially,
primary education is necessary for success in any field, regardless
of what skills the job requires. Therefore, as a community we must
provide assistance to develop a strong population of children who
will lead the country.


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