“Four of the six toilets do not work. The toilet stalls, which are eaten away by red and brown corrosion, have no doors. The toilets have no seats. One has a rotted wooden stump. There are no paper towels and no soap. Near the door there is a loop of wire with an empty toilet-paper roll;” these are conditions you may face at a poor school where students deserve affirmative action (Kozol 6). Affirmative action is a government policy that attempts to weaken racism by giving minorities extra points on college applications. It has caused many mixed feelings and opinions to be held by those affected by it and those who are not. Affirmative action should be used only in cases in which the applicant’s school did not meet education standards, and should not be used based on race and gender.
There are two very simple reasons as to why students in poor schools need affirmative action to be equal with those in standard schools. Firstly, a student cannot learn to their full ability when they do not have proper facilities or materials required to teach a student the curriculum. A teacher from a poor school says, “I have done without so much so long that, if I were assigned to a suburban school, I’m not sure I’d recognize what they are doing. We are utterly cut off” (Kozol 3). This quote shows how even a teacher can see a definitive difference in the quality of schools, and how it affects what students are learning. Also, many do not have sufficient materials and items needed for class such as books, pencils, and paper. Without books they cannot learn the material whatsoever, nor could they take notes or do written work. The second reason is that poor schools are often insufficient to students’ learning because of a lack of teachers. Kozol says, “If you have a high school teacher with five classes each day and between 150 and 175 students, it’s going to have a devastating effect” (3). Schools like this bring in substitutes to fill in for gaps in teaching slots. This seems like the best option, but substitutes are often uneducated on the subject of what they are teaching, and are not certified to teach that subject. So, what seems like the best option at times can be hardly better than nothing at all.
One who opposes my view on affirmative action may believe that it should be used for race and gender as well, or they may believe it should not be used at all. One who says it should be used for race and gender is wrong because when points are given to racial minorities, it then turns the tables and is racist towards whites, thus diminishing the attempt at weakening racism. It is also sexist toward men because they are then discriminated from women receiving points. Some racial and gender minorities do not support this because they feel as if they are capable of achieving by themselves which is often true. One who says affirmative action should not be used at all is wrong because then those who go through poor school systems have not received proper education and do not have the knowledge that those who went to good schools have. All students deserve equal opportunity at a quality college education.
One can see it is important for affirmative action to be used for those who do not receive equal education opportunities, but not for race and gender minorities. One may ask, why do I care about this? Well, imagine being someone in a school that does not receive the funding and materials that are needed, without a fair chance to learn what others at higher quality schools are learning. If a student is not learning to as high a standard as most students are, they will not perform as well on the SAT, weakening their chances at college acceptance. However, these changes to policy will not take place without protest and petition from the people of our country. If this can be achieved, our nation will be one step closer to equality.