Statistics say that over 17 million children are growing up in poverty in the United States. Education expert Nicole Baker Fulgham expands on the realities that vulnerable children face on a daily basis.
“First of all, it’s kids, and we know that they are among the most marginalized in any society because they have no voice; they don’t vote, they’re small, they’re often overlooked. But you couple that with people living in poverty, again, another group of people who, in some cases, it’s generation after generation.”
“Those two things combined, to me, make education and education inequality such a ripe issue for Christians to really focus on.”
Nicole says that along with advocacy, relationship-building plays an important role in making an impact, and embracing our responsibility as Christians.
“When Christians are showing up in a school solely to help ensure that kids can read, that they can learn, and that they get quality teachers, that sends such a strong message to people who may not be Christians, or may not be as connected to a church. That’s a beautiful way to model the love of Christ.”
“From my perspective, the potential to really change outcomes for kids and families is one thing, but it’s also the relational piece that I think is really powerful. We just don’t want to overlook that as our responsibility.”
To bring policy to scale, Nicole discusses the number one barrier to cross in the public education system.
“I believe the thing we need to knock over is complacency in our country and in general on this issue. The challenges are so great that it requires significant political will to change. It’s one of the things that every politician campaigns, ‘Our schools need to get better, especially in the cities.’”
“That’s a great talking point, but we need people and citizens, and in our case people of faith, who are willing to say, ‘Yes, that’s great that you campaigned on that, but we’re going to hold you accountable. We’re going to push, pray, and let our voices be heard in very strategic, smart, and relentless ways.’”
Nicole Baker Fulgham graduated from the University of Michigan and joined Teach For America, where she taught 5th grade in Compton, CA. Nicole received her doctorate in education from UCLA with a focus on urban education policy and teacher preparation. Nicole has written two books including .Education equality for children