Written by: Melissa-Sue John, Ph.D.
In the United States of America, the national average for per pupil expenditure is approximately $12,000. Significant disparity exists across the country. For example, New York and Alaska spend more than $20,000 per student; North Carolina spends $8,940; while Utah spends less than $4,000 (Governing, 2017; US Census, 2015).
Teachers in schools who receive significantly less spending per student believe an increase in funds per student would make a difference in achievement and overall student well-being (Valdosta Times, 2018). These disparities translate to some students having access to new text books, state of the art technology, personalized laptops, field trips, small class sizes, nurses and psychologists on staff, and brand-new text books, while other schools have students with insufficient books, outdated or dilapidated text books, and no money for educational field trips. The low-income children are certainly feeling it and are expected to compete at the same rate. No wonder the academic achievement gap remains persistent.
I recall my high school daughter telling me that her math textbook mentioned floppy disks and no one of their generation knew what they were talking about. Her social studies book was printed in 1998 and several countries have since changed their names or capitals. This is a serious problem that needs to be discussed by parents, teachers, legislators, and policy makers.
Yesterday thousands of North Carolina educators marched together in Raleigh to rally for better pay, improved working conditions, and better school funding (Valdosta Times, 2018). Since February of 2018 strikes, walkouts, and protest rallies have increased across the country as seen in West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado, and Oklahoma.
Teachers are doing what they can to solve the problem, but what can students do? This is the setting for the book called Gabby for president written by Vanessa Trafton.
Gabby is sitting in her class contemplating over the fact that her school has no resources or funds and comes up with various solutions to raise money for her school.
Some of her plans are more successful than others, but she never gives up. With the help and support of her family and neighbors, they raise money to help her school. Being a problem solver is a quality of a leader and Gabby gives hope to her community by showing we can all work hard to make a difference and give the next generation a brighter future.
Have you ever done anything like that for your school? Find out what you can do, by ordering a copy from Amazon. Be sure to write a thoughtful review. We recommend this book for 6 to 10 year old, who are looking for a fun read which is inspiration and focuses on problem solving, motivation, hard work, and persistence. We give the book 5 stars for being relevant to current events, for its bright and colorful illustrations, and for its inclusivity for diversity.
Governing (2017, December 8). Education Spending Per Student by State. http://www.governing.com/gov-data/education-data/state-education-spending-per-pupil-data.html
US Census (2015). https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2015/econ/school-finances/secondary-education-finance.html
Valdosta Times (2018, May 2016). Thousands of NC teachers rally for respect in Raleigh. http://www.valdostadailytimes.com/cnhi_network/breaking-down-nc-teacher-rally-in-raleigh-and-whether-common/article_9c9c3728-11b1-5346-8931-2a4836945a2a.html