You get out what you put in.
This axiom is common one the world over and can be found in everything from inspirational speeches to Bible verses to pop songs.
Nowhere is this more evident than in education.
It has been proven time and time again that the quality of education is tied to geographic locale. Simply put, distressed communities do not have as high-performing schools as wealthier communities. A 1999 study by Sandra Black in the Quarterly Journal of Economics showed that children living in more expensive houses attended schools with higher average test scores.
Children living in economically distressed communities need access to quality education so they might escape the shackles of poverty. Without a solid education, this leads to what is known as a poverty trap - a cycle of limited access and low-income which just perpetuates forth to the next generation.
Harvard professor of economics Roland Fryer states that education is more than attending a good school.
Education is community.
Programs like New York City’s Harlem Children’s Zone combines high-quality education with community programs like art, music, dance, martial arts and tutoring. They help navigate high schoolers through the college admission process and even offer tax prep and health services for the whole family.
It takes more than a teacher to make a good student and when it comes to raising healthy, successful and stable children – we’ve all heard it before – it takes a village.
It is up to us to help foster a greater sense of community and Open The Door. By investing in the future of our children, we are investing in hope and a brighter tomorrow for us all.