Executive Director, Burger King McLamore Foundation
Education is crucial to alleviating poverty and class immobility. So why is so little being done to make it more accessible? We talked to Amanda Israel, executive director of the Burger King McLamore Foundation, which empowers kids to pursue education, about why this is something in which we need to invest.
Currently, what are the major barriers to education in the United States?
In the United States student loan debt is a major barrier to education. This totals a staggering $1.5 trillion, and for the average student this debt is $38,000. There is around $6 billion in scholarships available every year, which only can help around 10 percent of students.
What positive and/or negative impacts have you seen technology make in access to education?
Positive impacts include low-cost and free curriculum available to teachers and mass digitization of learning materials, like our local language children’s books. Negative impacts include security risks and data breaches for students learning online. Making technology more accessible also distributes access to those who might abuse it.
How does a lack of education equity have long-term effects on a nation?
Education uplifts people and communities out of poverty. It supports economic growth and gender equality, allowing a nation to grow. The Foundation supports education equity by investing in girls’ education through scholarships and, to date, have helped close to 400 girls go to school.
Why is now a critical time to be investing in education?
Now is a critical time to invest in education because 20 percent of the world’s population is illiterate (with two thirds being women). We need to invest in education equality, providing infrastructure and quality learning materials to break down the barriers that exist. We need to invest in youth development and in the United States to find a solution to the student debt crisis.
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