Do kids attending Title 1 schools have the same educational opportunities as their more affluent peers? No. Of course not. But, what are the general implications when a child lacks a strong formal education?
Let’s take a look at Michael Faraday, one of the great scientific and technological difference makers in human history.
Who was Michael Faraday?
Michael Faraday was an extraordinary human being. He was an inordinately accomplished nineteenth century chemist and physicist despite unique childhood circumstances. It was more common than not in that time period, that famous scientists possessed family financial means which afforded them quality schooling opportunities as children. Since Faraday’s family was poor, his formal schooling was limited to the most basic levels. However, Michael Faraday was an erudite even as an adolescent – the epitome of a self-learner.
Faraday’s experimental work in electricity and magnetism is legendary. His work with electric induction led to the rudimentary work of the modern day electric motor, transformer and generator. Although Faraday’s mathematics was limited to algebra and trigonometry, he still produced the basic mathematical connections that led to a correlation between two fundamental forces in nature. Later in the nineteenth century, James Clerk Maxwell utilized Faraday’s work to develop the four mathematical equations that demonstrated the electricity, light and magnetism are of the same phenomenon.
General Title 1 implications when a ‘child of poverty’ becomes an adult
We meet them all the time in many walks of daily life. Adults working in classified positions in elementary school offices, construction sites, grocery stores, restaurants and the list goes on. After a short conversation, it is more than apparent that they are highly intelligent, analytical and possess focused common sense insight.
In my mid-twenties before I understood societal conditions better, I would ponder, “Why are you working here? How could someone of your intellect and ability end up doing this type of job every day?”
The adults employed in these relatively low salaried positions usually possess two commonalities. First, they were almost universally educated in the Title 1 Schools and did not receive an equitable education as their more affluent peers in high socioeconomic schools. Second, the majority of the time they are minorities, and while attending public school, they were classified as economically disadvantaged – poor kids.
In the end analysis, talented adults with unrealized potential work the remainder of their lives in fairly low level service or classified paraprofessional positions. Their opportunity for a better station was lost long before they realized a valuable commodity was being lost – a quality education that later leads to future economic prosperity.
Michael Faraday is one of the notable exceptions to the negative correlation of childhood poverty and its associated effect on one’s education, and due to his personal initiative, the world is a different place. His lifetime physics work became an impetus of scientific and technological change despite challenging childhood circumstances.
James Clerk Maxwell once stated when discussing Faraday and his experimental work, ‘How many more Faradays are out there walking around?’ The answer to that question is unknowable. However, the en masse loss of human contribution and innovation due to inferior modern day Title 1 educations is also incalculable, as is the moral conundrum it presents for its annual continuance.