Episode nine of FOX's Glee is "Wheels." Themes of equality and fair treatment are prevalent throughout Glee, but "Wheels" is the first episode that centers on the issues. From Artie (Kevin McHale) needing more wheelchair access, to Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Burt (Mike O'Malley) dealing with homophobia, to Tina's (Jenna Ushkowitz) stutter, to Becky Jackson (Lauren Potter) joining the Cheerios, to a girl on the wrestling team, "Wheels" is bursting with such stories. It's also a great episode for story, acting, and music.
Equality is a tricky issue to tackle. It is certainly not fair that the school won't pony up the money for the New Directions to take a bus accessible to Artie to Sectionals. But neither is it fair that schools must spend so much extra money on a few children. The problems are the same with special education and non-English speaking learners. In these cases, financial inequality is needed to give the same opportunities across the board. One would never argue that children should not get equal access for risk of sounding like a heartless monster, but there does need to be some sort of balance, or all of the school's funds could be tied up for things that do not benefit most of the student body. That would be a problem, too.
Funding comes from a variety of sources, and as Will (Matthew Morrison) rants against the unfairness of the Cheerios flying all over the country, Figgins (Iqbal Theba) points out that Sue (Jane Lynch) has boosters that pay for all of that. Is the booster system fair? Obviously, individuals working hard to raise money for a certain cause should be allowed to use it for their intended purpose. But when such a disparity exists in a system, such as the one between the Cheerios and New Directions, isn't it only right that some of the funds by siphoned off to other groups? Your point of view on the subject surely reflects political and social views, as both sides are arguable to some degree.
One does have to wonder, though, how McKinley can afford special lighting in the choir room, as well as costumes, props, and a unique ramp stage for a glee rehearsal, but can't pay for a bus that is surely already owned by the district. In "Wheels," Will even finds the money to buy eleven wheel chairs! They are used, but have to cost some amount of money. Why not share a few instead of each student getting their own? The point would still be made. Perhaps this is a bit nit picky, but as much as the New Directions complain about not having funding, they sure look like that's not the case. Of course they must look good to drive up the production value of the show, and keep people entertained. But this contradicting with realism is a problem I wish would be addressed. Perhaps the group receives special grants that must be spent on lights and costumes?