Noor El-Ansary, a Xavier University junior, supports equitable and accessible public education for all children. Her exploration of issues that affect academic inequality has taken her as far away as Egypt to work with a model, rural school, to a high school down the street from our urban campus that serves resettled families and their children. Noor’s experience with Misr El Khier, an Egyptian non-profit that partners to create community-led schools, helped illuminate for her how policy and social norms can impact child drop-out rates. In Cincinnati, she leverages her knowledge to help address systemic barriers encumbering the academic experiences of refugee-resettled students through tutoring, mentorship, and civic engagement. In all instances of her servant leadership, Noor leverages her own lived experiences and broad skillset to dismantle cultural and linguistic barriers and promote productive dialogue about access to education.
Educational inequality has long plagued governments whose responsibility is to provide an equitable and accessible public education to all children. In Egypt, public schools suffer from over-crowding. In America, they suffer from segregation. In both cases, students fall through the cracks of the system – students of color, of minorities, and historically disadvantaged communities. Similarly faced with racial injustice, economic inequalities, and gender biases, these communities are deprived of basic resources necessary for growth and development, let alone funding and training for a quality education that can help overcome these challenges. Today and every day, I take a conscious step towards a career that will connect me to these communities, noting that while development traditionally carries the connotation of “liberation,” it is in fact the farthest from such a term. Developing communities are not to be pitied or “saved” because they cannot advance without help; rather, they are to be respected for facing adversity despite being historically and systematically denied proper resources. Once resources are provided, the unleashed potential is truly inspiring. While the journey to equality and equity is long and large, I hope to participate in the process by continuously addressing and fighting against educational inequality.