If we wish to increase economic mobility, how exactly do we address these persistent problems? According to the CALDER Center, charter schools are already improving high school and college graduation rates, which in turn have led to higher wages for graduates and a higher standard of living. Partnerships with apprenticeship and career programs have also prepared students for what to expect once they are out in the workforce. In addition to these programs, mentoring college students can help address the knowledge bridge that low income students too often have to cross when they get to their respective university. Questions that often come up are: How do I choose a major?; How does financial aid work?; What are some resources that are available to me if I am struggling academically? A mentor can address all these questions with personal anecdotes about his or her life.
The first step in fixing our educational system is finding out what is working and failing for our students. This can be done by data-driven examinations of the different programs that have been implemented and looking into what teachers can do to ensure that students succeed academically. Parents must be able to differentiate between schools that will provide their children with the best educational opportunities and have the option of enrolling their child in those schools. Also, the federal and local governments must be flexible in providing funds for schools. Being satisfied with mediocrity should not and cannot be an option. If something is in need of repair, it should be given priority. A teacher needs better school supplies to more effectively teach? Allocate funds to provide these teaching tools. Furthermore, parents should be as educated as their children about what it takes to get into college and succeed in classes. When a student attends a university, it is a community and family effort. Rising up the economic ladder is not easy, for anyone, especially low income students. Yet, it can and must be done for the sake of minority communities that are often on the margins of society. Education is the key. It always has been.
-- Fernando Garcia