Making room for educational opportunity

Anthony Abron

Some of the most overt discrimination in our country happens in education.  We have a responsibility to understand – and to act.  

I have an obsession with The George Washington University. I talk about it every second of every day and it’s something that I’m proud of. However, not all children get the opportunity to pursue a university-level education. Affirmative Action is a remedy to this problem.

Affirmative Action is an action or policy favoring those who tend to suffer from discrimination, especially in relation to employment or education. In terms of college admissions, some argue that affirmative action decreases opportunities for high-achieving students, while it puts kids who aren’t ready into situations that may be beyond them.

I don’t know how I looked in the eyes of the admissions committee at GW. I don’t know if they liked my extracurriculars or my grades. But I can tell you one thing. My SAT scores were atrocious, and that is not what got me in the door. Consider students who don’t go to schools like Malvern. In my city, many students don’t have extracurriculars at their school and are lucky enough if they get a college counselor. A lackluster SAT score is the only thing they have to their admissions portfolio because of lackluster education quality. Is it right that they don’t get the same access to education that many of us think we “deserve”?

Our country has come a long way, yet we still live in an age where racism and discrimination happen. And some of the most glaring discrimination happens in our schools.

Public Education has been a staple of our country. Some public schools succeed and others do not for many reasons, but the most important is funding. Look no farther than right here in our own backyard. Harriton High School – supported by the wealthy suburban taxes of Lower Merion School District – has the second highest SAT scores of any public school in the state.  SAT scores from Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Philadelphia – in a school district that is facing a $300+ million budget shortfall – fall somewhere in the bottom 10%.  King’s graduation rate is 54%, while Harriton’s is 100%. Because of this overt discrimination, should colleges should feel the need to correct lower level wrongdoings?

Many conservative politicians like to say they have lived the American Dream. They pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and made a name for themselves. What they fail to recognize is, they are white. They were going to have more opportunities regardless.

Our future bosses and business partners are not going to be only white. Our generation is one of increasing diversity and that is something to be proud of. Think of Affirmative Action not as a handout, but as an opportunity. We all hope that one day someone takes a chance on us and our skills. Let colleges take that chance on minorities.