In a world riddled with inequality, societies are becoming dangerously close to accepting systemic issues as problems we can no longer fix. Those who have been oppressed for generations continuously face the contagious epidemic of losing hope. For these reasons, social entrepreneurs are being called to challenge the status quo in order to progress humankind’s fight for equity. The question now becomes, how do we find individuals who are committed to sacrificing their entire livelihood for the betterment of others?
Through education, we inspire. Teaching is the most revolutionary thing we can do, and it must start with uplifting those who suffer from the lowest quality of life. The goal doesn’t need to be centered around our children becoming presidents or senators, but rather to provide them with a reality where they can dream of being lawyers and doctors instead of drug dealers and gangsters. Everyone needs to play their part to provoke fundamental change. Often, the under-represented communities which are in dire need of change are where we can find the most committed people willing to take on the risks. The challenge is that our school systems are constructed in such a way that the poorest neighborhoods that are in desperate need of a better education system lack the resources to continue motivating students to prepare them for college and life. High dropout rates, lack of quality educators, old textbooks, worn out buildings, cut electives, and low funding for extracurricular activities are all issues that need to be solved. Money is the obvious answer for improving the chaos, yet the rich are often hesitant to give up any of their excess because generational wealth comes with unholy greed. The inability to empathize with real issues faced in society gives the people in power an excuse to not do anything about it. All the face-value change brought to us by tearing down statues and writing on streets is a bipartisan play to calm down their constituents so they don’t end up losing any of their money or corrupted influence.
The standardized model our schools are geared towards introduces students to a variety of academic subject fields, but fails to explain how to properly organize and monetize skill sets that pertain to real world issues. Even a policy like “No Child Left Behind” still has an unequal funding framework which gives an advantage to richer school districts; not to mention the pressure it puts on educators to “teach towards the test” instead of creating an environment that promotes critical thinking geared towards creative solutions. Interventions need to be put in place to identify negative socialization behaviors among children growing up in ghettos, but instead we deploy punishments which are established in reflection of our broken prison system. Our country has been failing to rehabilitate the redlined districts which have been systematically suppressed through racist banking, housing, and voting policies - none of which get taught as part of the public school curriculum. Although we can’t change the dark past, our inability to promote historical context about contemporary issues is what helps the rich get richer, as they watch the poor get prison.
In order to get started building a solution, we must educate people on the facts. The only way we can hold power and wealth accountable, is if communities understand the context of their environment based on historical precedence. Even in the realm of science, math, and technology; the social stratosphere we live in would become susceptible to manipulation if people don’t understand how corruption has occurred. The uphill battle for social equity and equality is ever growing, but the solution starts with educating the oppressed on the circumstances that built their livelihood. Media has played both a positive and negative role in bringing awareness to these issues. The positive aspect is that more and more people have access to sources of information. The negative is that almost all sources of information are biased and rooted in lies to promote special interests. That’s why the lack of critical thinking presented in our school systems is such a dangerous missing quality of our current curriculum; regardless of diversity, we all become victims to the lies we hear in the news.
The lack of financial awareness being taught at school is directly correlated with continuous acts of suppression. College debt is skyrocketing per generation; as more and more minorities are starting to find their path to universities, the cost of attendance simultaneously goes up as well. This begins to affect everyone, especially as it becomes more difficult to find a job that can pay off loans even after getting a degree. The standards for getting into higher education are inequitable, college is harder to get into, and jobs are more difficult to find. Meanwhile, public education doesn’t teach blue-collar skills because the name of their game is to send kids to college. This cycle is a radical reflection of how the government continues to control the median population; while it is no longer racial slavery in the united states, it has reflected into contemporary rich controlling the poor. Imagine if financial literacy and business development was prioritized as any of the STEM fields? That would empower people to not only save money and invest, but also rebuild their communities' infrastructure themselves without having to rely on the government which has an agenda lined up to continue suppressing the people.
Through expansive research and development, my team of social entrepreneurs have been discussing the methods in which we believe will help level the playing field in all aspects of inequality. Our core worldview on the subject has derived from conducting interviews with financial literacy non-profit industry leaders, such as the National Endowment for Financial Education, Operation Hope, Teach for America, and The Financial Awareness Foundation. Through these open discussions, executives were eager to help us influence our generation, because they understand that it really does take everyone to progress the status quo. The main aspects we have been able to take out from these conversations is that financial literacy must start from the very beginning in kindergarten, and children must continue being exposed to different aspects of finance throughout their public education career. Younger age groups are generally more susceptible to developing healthy behaviors if they learn them consistently. The parents are also more likely to be involved with the child's education earlier, which gives them the opportunity for them to learn about things like how to save for their kids' college, along with all the options and resources available to them that they were never taught about. All we want to do is increase opportunity for those born fighting an unfair battle. The inclusion of financial literacy within standardized educational curriculum will systematically provide greater access to equality by cycling the influence within socioeconomically depressed communities. The individuals who understand the struggle the best should be the ones who come back to design new infrastructures and policies. The only way we can accomplish this is if we increase the standards of financial literacy resources within access to the public education system.