The Third Culture Joseph LeDoux

Educational Inequities

As a nation we pay lip service to the idea that we're all created equal. But the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Is this because the poor have bad brains that can't learn to do better, or because their brains never get the opportunity to learn? We know that even the best of brains needs input from the environment to form and flourish. So why do we allow schools in poor neighborhoods, as a rule, to be so much worse?

The difference is less about race than about class. Shouldn't education be more standardized from neighborhood to neighborhood, city to city, and state to state? Improvement of educational opportunities wouldn't solve all the problems the poor face, but is an obvious place to start. Critics of liberal social policy often claim that pouring money into a situation doesn't help. I'm not suggesting that the poor get anything extra, just that they get what others get. A decent education is a right not a privilege.

JOSEPH LEDOUX, a Professor at the Center for Neural Science, New York University. Joseph LeDoux, has written the most comprehensive examination to date of how systems in the brain work in response to emotions, particularly fear. Among his fascinating findings is the work of amygdala structure within the brain. He is the author of the recently published The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life, coauthor (with Michael Gazzaniga) of The Integrated Mind, and editor with W. Hirst of Mind and Brain: Dialogues in Cognitive Neuroscience.

Further Reading on Edge: "Parallel Memories: Putting Emotions Back Into The Brain" — A Talk With Joseph LeDoux on Edge

LINK: LeDoux Lab: Center for Neural Science Home Page