Our Privilege in APS

Courtesy of Perkins Eastman
Courtesy of Perkins Eastman

When walking through the halls of our school, you don’t need to strain your ears to hear complaints. Students lament the crowded stairwells, glitching technology and the ever-variable building temperature. However, these sentiments come off as slightly ingenuous when considering the vast resources that Yorktown students are privy to that other school districts do not have.

To begin to find this privilege, just open up your backpack. Inside should be an Apple MacBook, a device worth well over $1,000. This enables our school’s students to complete work from anywhere with speed and efficiency. These state-of-the-art computers are a rarity in the American school system, which usually provides older models to students, or none at all.

On these computers is a virtually endless supply of resources, such as the Canvas platform and access to academic research databases. Arlington Public Schools (APS) has allocated a total 2024 budget of $13,666,215 for the Office of Technology Services, which manages technological matters. This budget far surpasses national averages, meaning that students at our school have unprecedented and unique access to technology and information.

Our school building is an advantage in itself. When walking through the hallways of the atrium, you are greeted with natural light, and spotless, wide hallways. The county has renovated our school numerous times and has provided all the facilities students need. According to the Federation of American Scientists, the entire American educational system has an upkeep budget gap of $85 billion, meaning that most public schools are funded much less than they need. In contrast, our school has their own custodial staff, and the building itself is kept in good condition.

Another main facet of being enrolled in APS is the per-pupil budget. Believe it or not, but the county spends roughly $24,612 a year on your education, as outlined in the 2024 APS School Year Budget, and making sure you have the proper materials. This stands in stark contrast to the national average of $14,347 per pupil. As mentioned before, this money goes towards personal MacBooks, but also shows itself in other ways. Students have access to learning aids, language support and counseling services if they so need them. These measures make APS a supportive environment, and ensures that everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

A large portion of our school’s students participate in athletics. Our school has an extensive history of winning sports teams, due to the resources extended to the athletic department. All athletes have uniforms and are provided most necessary equipment. This district even procures charter buses to take sports teams to and from games. These advantages allow student-athletes to be successful and train to be at their best, without worrying about lack of equipment or insufficient funds.

Undoubtedly, there is inherent privilege in being enrolled in APS. While this piece focused on the positives of this school system, I am not denying the existence of problems. As with any organization, there are issues, and this is not intended to invalidate any concerns. However, I would like to recognize there are innate advantages in APS, such as technology, use of a huge budget, and access to student assistance. In my opinion, students should recognize their unique position and how it compares to others.

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