Putting education first

an Ed.D. student at Drexel University Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento and is a board member for Capitol Collegiate Academy

Many people believe that education is the key to a bright future. But instead of a key, education has become the lock on the door that holds people captive in their socioeconomic status. People living in poverty have lower literacy and numeracy rates, as well as large gaps in the use of technology.

In Sacramento, the number of children living in poverty or homelessness continues to increase. With unemployment numbers in the double digits and continued funding for affordable housing in jeopardy, it is expected that the problem of homeless children in our community will worsen before it gets better, and as the number of children with unstable housing increases, proper educational opportunities in Sacramento will decrease.

The statistics for children living in poverty are dire, and it’s even worse for their peers who are homeless. To be unsheltered is to live in a constant state of stress. Academic success is difficult to focus on when your biggest concerns are “Where will I sleep tonight?” and “Will school breakfast and lunch be all I eat today?”

How can an overstressed, underfunded educational system in Sacramento support the unique educational needs of the underprivileged? The answer lies in public-private partnerships. Just as the private and public sectors are working together to bring much-needed jobs to the Sacramento region, they must also work in unison to support the education of our children. Imagine if our community put forth the same effort and enthusiasm to support education as it has done to keep the Kings in Sacramento.

Here are several ways we can help:

•Continue supporting efforts to bring jobs and affordable housing to the Sacramento region.

•Develop partnerships to provide schools with academic enrichment opportunities and economic support.

•Volunteer! Schools always need the support of caring adults.

•Be an advocate. Lend your voice to help educate others about the unheard and unseen homeless children in Sacramento.

If the Sacramento region is going to have a prepared, educated population to meet workforce needs, something must be done now. Schools can’t manage the needs of these poverty-stricken children without outside help.

Let’s prove that our children are just as important as our beloved Sacramento Kings.