Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Dark Side of Education

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Shawad Dara

July 5, 00

English 101

The Dark Side of Education

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Social status plays a pivotal role in this country. It is difficult for many people, especially immigrants, to get the right kind of education to boost them up the ladder of success. Jean Anyon, author of “The Hidden Curriculum of Work” spoke of how the quality of education is out of balance in our society. In my opinion, there exist three obstacles that Americans commonly face that inhibit them from a quality education. These include under representation, adaptation to the U.S. education system, and financial instability. Is quality education for everyone or just for the wealthy?

Students from a lower social class in America are continuously under represented. In fact, one out of every five pursues a higher form of education after high school. Issues such as immediate financial need persuade students to seek early employment. Hence, most end up in careers such as auto-mechanics or construction. Cost of studying and being in debt are also concerns because they prohibit these students from going to universities or colleges for higher education. The few who make it to a University or college are overwhelmed by the long work hours to help pay for their food and tuition. Therefore, they have little time to study, which affects their grades negatively. William Zinsser said in “College Pressure”, “I see four kinds of pressure working on college students today economic pressure, parental pressure, peer pressure, and self-induced pressure.”

For the most part, underprivileged students are immigrants from other countries who come to America with a desire and passion to learn. Since our education system is

heavily dependant on the textbooks that schools use everyday in their classes, many immigrants have a hard time understanding what is being taught because English is not their primary language. In a book by Mike Rose called Lives on a Boundary, he speaks of a Chinese boy who migrated from China and was not taught much English in his new school, so instead he started hanging out in recreation rooms, playing pool and watching T.V. Slowly he started to comprehend the English spoken on the T.V. and was able to speak, to read, and to write. Here, this Chinese boy is a good example of our educational system failing immigrants. The teachers failed to teach him to read and write good English, so he was forced to learn on his own. Frank Marell is also a great example of our education failing our immigrants. Back in his home country of Italy, he lived in a poor town where there was not emphasis on education. After him and his family arrived in America he continued his education. His parents did not make much money and he was sent to a low status school where their reading, speaking, and writing educational methods re poor. So Frank took jobs as a shoe shiner at local barbers shops where he would listen to other people talk and use that to brush up his English. Frank never gave up, and because of his determination, and dedication he was able to teach himself what he thought at first was impossible. I am surprised at the number of immigrants who have climbed the ladder of success in spite of the difficulties they encountered. If people

would just give our children a chance to learn and grow through education, by not excluding them because of their class or background, then people would have such a better outlook on education as a whole.

Many have started to question education in this nation, are educational opportunities equal for everyone or just for the wealthy? Long ago a man named Plato

wrote a book called The Republic, which entails how one creates a perfect educational system that is fair to everybody. He stated, “All children begin life and schooling the same. Over time, and through numerous tests, those who prove worthy are separated from those less likely to succeed. These chosen are slowly and logically weeded until a select few remain to compose the ruling class.” He believed that all inhabitants (citizens and aliens) would receive the same education and let there own skills determine how far they can go. Allan Simpson, another author said in his tract “The Marks of an Educated Man”, “Any education that matters is liberal. All the saving truths and healing graces that distinguished a good education from a bad one or a full education from a half-empty one are contained in that word.” But People of higher social status attempt to use education to better themselves and their children at the expense of others through several methods. First, as mentioned previously, the students continue to acquire education to such a point that their education distinguishes them from the average student. For example if most of the work force has an undergraduate degree, then they will earn a masters degree to gain an advantage. Second, they will send their children to private schools that are perceived as better than public schools due to smaller class sizes and an emphasis on core academic subjects. Third, parents will move into more expensive neighborhoods where the public

schools are seen as better. In theory, these better schools are open to all. In reality, they are limited to those well off enough to be able to afford to live within their district boundaries.

The poor and immigrated students are continuously under represented and the established and wealthy students are getting the quality education. The middle class of students are able to afford moderately good education or at times education as good as

the wealthy can. The poor and immigrated classes of students are always in the stress of being in debt and the rich classes of students never have the worry of not being able to afford any type of education and go into debt. The middle class has both of these problems, at times they are doing well and parents are able to send their children to great colleges and sometimes some of the middle class families encounter money problems and can only send their students to mediocre colleges and universities.

Education has become such a necessity for today’s generation. Poor and immigrated students are to trying to acquire the same level of education that the rich and fortunate students can in order to be successful in life and obtain better social status. Under representation, adaptation to the U.S. education system and financial instability are many hardships faced by these students. The opportunity for quality education often seems diminished.

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