October 2-8 is Mental Health Awareness Week. For more info on events and programs, check out their website http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=mental_illness_awareness_week
Education is what you make it. Maybe it levels the playing field, maybe its a waste of time. In class we see the different experiences that people have from whatever education they have recieved. All of our experiences are different and in all of them we have taken things and left things behind. Therefore, my opinion is split down the middle, is education a leveling playing field- sure, for some. Is education a waste of time, it probably is for some people. Personally, I feel that we cannot put a blanket label on education.-- its a living, breathing entity that constantly changes. Yet, I feel due to peoples assumptions about education (as in people think education is a great equalizer and when its not, education is the one that is wrong, not the presumptious person) it fails in being a leveler because it didnt work for everyone. In other words, because it didnt work for everyone, its a failure to everyone. If it cant help one, then it probably cant help any of us. Of course this is a misconception that feel arises when people talk about the role of education in our society.
For many reasons, I'm compelled to say yes. I have met friends with limited resources and assets, yet through excelling academically, these people were able to find scholarship and aid to college. This is not to say though that purely academic excellence provided them a path to college. Factors like family expectations, values, and stable income were huge influences in these students' paths to college. And, if these factors were not present, I don't believe these students would excel as much as they had.
At some point, the desire to achieve is very limited by income and familial values. This is probably evident in the lives of most of us—even if we were not straight-A students, many of our parents' incomes and expectations were the reasons for our ability to go to college. Sure, academic promise is obviously part of our paths to get into college, but we cannot ignore that, for many of us (not all of us), we could never get where we are without the financial support of our parents and/or a community that valued education.
However, when a student lacks these resources, the fight towards gaining this caliber of education (Bryn Mawr or similar schools) is nearly impossible. Students with the most academic promise and passion to learn find themselves limited by financial constraints or community constraints. When a community looks down on education, I can see how uncomfortable it must be to rise above that.
I really enjoyed Kai's poem and although I'm not black, I found myself relating to the experiences she was describing because I would describe myself as a woman of color too. When she called out the characteristics of her fellow classmates in AP classes, I thought about my experiences as a student in an AP class. My high school is very diverse, socioeconomically and racially, so most of the classes had students from all kinds of backgrounds. But what I eventually discovered was that the higher up a level a class I went, the less diverse the classes became. So by the time I was a senior and taking on more challenging classes, I found myself being the only person of color in the class. I would think an observation like that was irrelevant, like it shouldn't have bothered me, but it did. I had moments where I would feel isolated and sometimes I couldn't relate to other. And I often second guessed myself and felt like I had to put in two times as much work to compensate for my skin color. Sometimes I even wondered if learning English as my second language made me less capable than my English speaking peers. I wanted to know why I seemed to struggle more than anyone else in class. I wondered why I was the only person of color in an AP class and I'm sure there are students that are experiencing what I experienced back then.
Writing my 4th paper on how school doesn't level the playing field. I see that school can be a hinderance or a tool based on one's class status. People from the upper class and middle class have better access to resources such as new text books, tutoring, advanced technology. This factor gives people from the upper and middle classes an upper leg in getting a formal education (college degree). People from lower class tend to be forced to worry about certain obstacles like finaces, etc. before they can even think about excelling in the class room. Moreover schools want to standarize every student's ability and compare each student based on annual income instead of true potential making the chances of a student from the lower class to get into a top college slimmer than a student from the upper class.
"Education plays a vital role in father’s life: on the one hand, it leads him to the life he wanted for him and let him leads him to the life he wants; but on the other hand, he completely lost his way to everything in his past life. For many people who intend to change their life by schooling, the access to education is like a one-way ship ticket, once people decide to aboard the ship, there is no chance to get back.
Far more than learning specific knowledge in the classrooms from teachers, I realized that education is actually closely related to class. Class mobility, which is considered as one of the most wonderful things that people can gain from education, is not always equals to happiness. For people who change their life by receiving education, they automatically put themselves in an awkward position, where is extremely hard to find a sense of belonging. Since they move out from their previous class, everything belongs to the class is no longer open to them; but at the same time, everything in the class they end up with is completely brand new.
This week, I chose to focus my writing on something our class hasn't really discussed. Throughout the semester, we've been talking about types of access that are imposed on us. Our income level, the class we're born in to, the community and culture we're a part of....these are generally aspects of access that have been imposed on us, or things we don't have full control over.
My thesis revolves around psychological attitudes and how they precede educational access barriers such as class or income. Essentially, I argued that the first step towards gaining access to education is having the desire and curiosity to learn.Without being psychologically openminded towards learning, the level of access one has is irrelevant.
I'm still wondering to myself about the development of my argument, and for this reason, this week's paper was particularly difficult for me to write and reflect on.
Here is an excerpt:
I never realized how much I could relate to Richard Rodriguez's experiences in school. After my one-on-one I decided to change the direction of my original paper. My most recent paper argued that if one doesn't have access to the person one is, it hinders the progress one has both as a student and a person outside of school. I have trouble identifying as a Cambodian because I can't speak the Khmer language, thereore I find it hard to socialize with other Cambodian people. When I can't socialize with a certain group of people that I should be able to fit in with, it's obvious that I'm not one of them. My parents and teachers had good intentions when they taught me the English language but I'm discovering now that I'm a product of assimilation. I read over Rodriguez's article to remember what it was about and it was slightly painful and relieving for me to read. It was painful in the sense that I know that I felt exactly the way Rodriguez felt for being annoyed at my parents' grammatical errors and them not being able to help me with my homework. But it was also relieving to know that it is indeed possible to lose a language and also a part of my identity. I thought it was a ridiculous claim and I beat myself up about it, but now that I have thought and written about it, I really do believe it.
When I was brainstorming ideas to right about for my essay, initially, I had been intending to write about how class affects a person’s access to education. The amount of money and cultural capital a person possesses determines how easily resources are available to him/her and the quality of the resources available; however, when reflecting and comparing between Tompkins’s, Yezierska’s and Rodriguez’s educations and their consequences, I found that that amount of resources a person has access to does not determine the level of satisfaction a student will walk away with once higher education is attained. What unfolded was that individuals have a choice in what they get out of their education by means of the different ways in which they choose to utilize their resources at hand to gain what they want and develop into who they are. Thus, education was really the vehicle in which people find themselves - discover their passions and potentials.
In my paper on the relationship betweenaccess and education I argued that class is the major deciding factor in how much and what kind of education one gets. But as I was writing my paper and reflecting on Thursday class's discussion I came to the conclusion that no matter what kind of education one gets 'too much' of a good thing can be a bad thing. Whether one takes the path of formal education, etc. one can go too far down on either path and becomse cut off from the rest of the world. An education gives access to a range of opportunities bases on what kind of education one is given so perhaps the real question is, when does education become detrimental to individual and when does it become detrimental to society?