The Myth of Education
Socioeconomic status is the social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income, and occupation. Once measured they will be placed into four categories, executive elite, affluent professional, middle-class and working class. Being in one of these four classes determines the quality and type of instruction given, which can vary greatly. Students in the executive elite class are often awarded the most subsidy. Their education steers them to develop their analytical intellectual powers essentially being groomed to be future top executives for multinational corporations. The affluent professional is the upper middle class. Their education guides them to critically think, express and apply their ideas. They are being groomed to be future doctors, engineers, and lawyers. Middle-class institutions are awarded enough to keep things running. Their education trains them to get the right answers. Enough right answers will allow you to obtain good grades. Their instruction leads them to become carpenters, law enforcement, and accountants. The fourth and final group is the working class, often receiving financially the bare minimum. They are taught to follow steps and repeat procedure. Generally, not allowed to make any decisions or express creativity.
The socio-economic status of the community students live in can unequivocally determine the quality and type of instruction they will receive in school.In the story “I Just Wanna Be Average” by Mike Rose the author proposes that while in a vocational school. He was forced to learn dead end skills from teachers who were underprepared or incompetent. He stated that the system would often write off students who have tremendous potential, simply because their socio-economic status would place them in the working-class group. Mike Rose was a part of the working-class group. Due to negligence on behalf of the school, he was placed in the vocational track. Unfortunately, this mistake was overlooked by both his parents and his school for two years. One example of his poor education came from Mr. Mitropetros, a sophomore English teacher. He was an English teacher by day, and a car valet by night. He would spend most of the classes time boasting about celebrities he may or may not have seen. His lack of training and instruction made him incompetent. He relied on the school districts standards and made the students read only the required texts. Another example came from a Spanish teacher named Mr. Montez. He was a meek, delicate, little man with a soft voice. He was new to the school and was underprepared to deal with the obstacles that came with teaching these kinds of children. His class was often loud, unruly, and in the end, he lost any respect the students might have had for him. His lack of structure and discipline in the classroom was his downfall. Teachers who are employed in working-class schools don’t tell students why they have an assignment and how it connects to other assignments. Students are told to follow directions and repeat procedures because the district has set the standard.Not all teachers are incompetent, and unskilled, some blossom and thrive against all odds. A rare exception walks into Mike Rose's life, soon after the death of his father. Just when this student had lost all hope and inspiration. He felt revived and new thanks to Jack McFarland. Mr. MacFarland brought a prep school curriculum to Mike's school. He spent hours crafting lectures that would weave writers, philosophers, plays, and novels together. Showed them how everything was almost always interlaced and associated. He built up their knowledge with facts, connections, and speculations. Mr. MacFarland Encouraged them to always ask questions and the students grew to respect him. His hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed by those who were not yet too far gone. He made them feel special by showing them that they were capable of more than they ever thought possible. He inspired all of them to want, to be better than they were at that moment.
Working class schools are affected in many ways that hinder the education of their children. From inept teachers to lack of funding, there are many variables that accumulated will cripple a student’s chance of succeeding. Jonathan Kozol is an educational activist and social reformist. He has written many books and articles, highlighting the inequalities and injustice that working-class schools go through. His focus is the schools in urban settings and suggests that American schools have once again become segregated. He associates the segregation of public schools with the deterioration of classrooms, and teaching practices. The board of education is responsible for distributing money to schools and awards the leas, amount to schools that need it most. These schools have lost so much funding, that they’ve had no choice but to remove programs such as art, music, healthcare and even libraries.In the Article “Still Separate, Still Unequal” by Jonathan Kozol. Jonathan went to many urban public schools, looking to tell their stories and bring to light the poor quality of their facilities. One high school he visited repeatedly, had a deteriorating roof and on rainy days water would flow through the school causing green mold to grow in the counselor’s office. In another school, the principal completely disheartened, shows Jonathan the dilapidation of his office alone. By gesturing to a trash bag attached to a collapsed part of the ceiling. He goes on to describe many other schools. “In one makeshift elementary school housed in a former skating rink next to a funeral establishment…. Class size rose to thirty-four and more; four kindergarten classes and a sixth-grade class were packed into a single room that had no windows.” He wanted to see the injustice first hand and document it. Without proof, he would not be able to bring to light the corruption within the board of education. The destitution of the facilities and the substandard education received by incompetent teachers has unfortunately caused a disastrous wave that has rippled through generations of students, in working-class schools. In Jean Anyon’s Essay “From Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work”, she goes into great detail and shows how someone’s socioeconomic status can affect their quality of education. In her observation, she went on to find that schools in working-class areas were grooming students to be nothing more than blue collar workers. “Work is following the steps of a procedure. The procedure is usually mechanical, involving rote behavior and very little decision making or choice.” Students do not have access to school materials. Whatever materials the school is awarded belongs to the teachers and are only allowed to be used with permission. They are taught from the beginning that everything in the room belongs to the teacher. They are there to memorize the steps, follow directions, and never stray from the lessons. The educators hired are often not qualified for the position. They do not know how to control their classroom and focus or motivate their students. They don’t have a lesson plan that goes above and beyond the minimum standards set by the district. Educators who are not prepared and want to maintain dominance in class resort to verbal abuse. The most disruptive in class are usually targeted and instructors lash out at students. The students have never been taught to challenge or to creatively express themselves. They are born to serve a mediocre purpose, live to the low standards that have been set and die never reaching their full potential because they were never taught any better. Their children and the generations that follow will be caught in the ripples of injustice and poverty. Our socioeconomic status is the social standing or class of an individual or group. It is often measured as a combination of education, income, and occupation. It can determine the quality of education as well as the type of education. Our socio-economic education status can be split up into four categories, executive elite, affluent professional, middle-class and working class. Students in the executive elite class are guaranteed success and wealth. While students in the working class are Students whom the system has written off. Even those who show tremendous potential don’t get very far in the education system because they are taught by teachers who are underprepared or incompetent.
There are very few teachers that go above and beyond for their students. Create lectures that weave people, places, and things together. They built up their knowledge with facts, connections, and speculations. Encourage students to always ask questions. Unfortunately, educators like this are one in a million. With proper funding and higher standards, instructors like this, wouldn’t be such an oddity in working-class schools. The Board of education is responsible for distributing money and awards the least amount to schools that need it the most. Working class communities are predominantly African American and Latino. These families struggle just as much as the school’s struggle to supply each student with the proper resources and materials to further their education. The even distribution of money can allow deteriorating schools to have access to clean working facilities and hire skilled and trained staff. Reinstate programs that will elevate the intensity and richness of every child’s education. Hopefully, Someday bringing a challenging and exciting new chapter for all students in working-class schools.