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  • Writer's picturetc4health

Individual Wealth Directly Impacts Community Wealth and Health

The wealth divide has a significant impact on the educational experience of the "haves and the have nots". When working as a school nurse for one year in an urban city I found there was a visible difference between the schools' wealthy and the disadvantaged families. The schools that were in the wealthier part of the city had parents that were capable of raising $100,000.00 a year or were able to purchase equipment and/or supplies for their children's schools directly. The students that attended the schools in the wealthier communities had IPADs, bicycles (used for physical education purposes), state of the art smartboard technology in each of their classes, and laptops for the children before the pandemic. The wealthier parents were also able to save schools money by providing services for their children's schools at a discounted rate or for free. For example, one of the parents was a professional photographer and this parent was able to act as the school photographer and created the yearbook and documented all of the school's major events. In contrast, the schools that were located within the lower-income areas had minimally active parent-teacher organizations, the teachers often have to use their funds to meet the needs of the classroom and when they had additional needs for supplies and/or equipment the parents were often not in a position to meet those needs. A few key points from the article are below:

1) Wealthy parents often have more time to participate in fundraising efforts for their children's school

2)Wealthier parents tend to be more educated and have knowledge in business and law which help with fundraising efforts (obtaining sponsorships, and tax-free contributions).

3)Wealthier parents tend to have connections with companies that are willing to provide donations for a tax write off

4)Wealthier parents can assist less affluent families by fundraising efforts that contribute to scholarships

5)Wealthier parents tend to know more resources for disadvantaged families with special needs children

6)Wealthier parents know how to create parent-run foundations that assist their public schools but are not connected to the public school system. This knowledge enables them to control where the money is spent or if they will purchase supplies and equipment for schools directly.

In closing, wealth and quality of education have a positive relationship. For the social divide to be properly addressed the wealth divide must also be addressed.

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