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How do we fix the broken U.S. education system showcased on America Divided?

America Divided highlighted the problem with our school systems, with help from this week’s celebrity host Jesse Williams — and boy, is there a problem.

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This is a topic I’ve already seen some discussion about in recent years thanks to well-done documentaries like Waiting for Superman. The struggle for me becomes: What do we do about a failing education system?

Even with affirmative action programs in place, I think it just isn’t enough. The solution to our school struggles has to start sooner than high school and college. And schools can’t be the first institutions to lose money when the economy gets tight.

If children aren’t prepared in elementary school, how can they be expected to make it through college successfully? This is something I’ve witnessed firsthand. My college roommate freshman year was a minority student who had not received the best education. She had a full-ride scholarship because of her background, but she didn’t last more than a semester because she was so unprepared. I imagine this is the norm for so many students. They have the drive, they have the desire, but they do not have the preparation.

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And school segregation, as Williams explored tonight, is a big part of the problem as well. As someone who lives in Los Angeles, I’ve also seen this one firsthand. In fact, there’s a public elementary school right down the road from my house. It seems, in my experience, that the majority of public schools in this area are attended by minority students while white families are more apt to send their children to private school. This is a big divide and a big conversation that needs to be addressed. The lack of quality education available to those who can’t afford to pay for it creates a vicious cycle.

Please, don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to suggest that the divide between public and private school has anything to do with the teachers or the staff. Private schools just have more funding while public schools are severely underfunded, so private schools have better access to the resources kids need to learn.

Also — and this is a big one for the current election — higher education needs to be more affordable. College shouldn’t put you in debt for half your life. That’s just asking for young adult failure before the current generation has even had a chance to prove itself successful.

All in all, these big problems need big solutions and, given the divide politically as well as racially right now, cooperation seems like a long way off.

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Of course, I still think America Divided is the start of change just by being on television. As I said last week, educating the public and proving the problem is the first step. Hopefully, the public can now step up and make some much-needed changes become reality.

What do you think is the key to education reform?

Before you go, check out our slideshow below.

Shonda Rhimes quotes
Image: WENN

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