America’s children need an Express Pass. And they need it now. Full of promise but held back by a system that isn’t working for them, they need a way to move to the front of the line where all the privilege tends to reside.
And an Express Pass can make that happen.
Yep, that’s right. Anyone who has been to Universal Studios in recent years knows exactly what I’m talking about. After families spend hundreds of dollars on admission to the park, they are forced to confront the ubiquitous truth that money is currency when it comes to the privilege of shorter lines for rides and attractions.
The Express Pass is the ticket to VIP status (aka shorter wait times) and it costs at least 90 dollars per person in addition to the even higher price for admission. (If you want to ride anything more than once, that Express Pass will run you 140 dollars additional dollars, per person.)
Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of theme parks to begin with but as I’ve learned of the obscene expense, inevitable add-ons, and downright price gouging, it’s safe to say that I pretty much loathe these places.
As I walked through Universal Studios this week trying to feign interest in my surroundings, I was struck by the Express Pass as a metaphor for education inequity. With each ride entrance that boasted a digital sign that indicated a wait time of 100 minutes, my mind ran on a loop that kept telling me that America is full of children who really need an Express Pass, who are being forced to wait for something far more important than a roller coaster or a Spider Man ride.
We, as a society that values equity and opportunity, need to be innovative and bold about bringing VIP status and shorter wait times to the children whose currency isn’t money but rather potential, talent, and the right to the same ‘wait times’ as their peers whose parents happen to have jobs that pay more.
It’s time that we, somehow, someway, push hard enough that the children who need it most can get an Express Pass to the ride of a lifetime: a truly awesome school.
Perhaps Universal Studios can help us get there. God knows they have the money after all those 140 dollar Express Passes they sold this week.