Sunday, December 23, 2012

the diploma divide

See associated New York Times article, For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall. On the diminishing ability of lower-income American youth to gain a college education, see the BBC article Downward Mobility Haunts U.S. Education. See also Education as the Great Equalizer? Or Class Enforcer?
Hear descriptions of a noteworthy attempt to turn around a high school in a low-income community:

1 comment:

  1. Upon first watching this clip, my first inclination is to blame the girl. Here's why: I understand that society helps to shape our lives, but I'll always try to argue personal responsibility whenever possible, because we are not usually just passive victims of society.

    I can be empathetic- I understand why needing to work while going to school can be frustrating, tiresome, etc. I myself work full-time while going to school full-time. This is how I know that it is not only possible to pull-off, but to pull-off well (I won't brag about my GPA here, other than to say that I'm an A-student). So I can't help but wonder if she was using her economic disadvantage as an excuse for not doing well academically (which makes sense from a psychological perspective, since this would protect her self-esteem).

    I also can't help but wonder: if she really needed the money, why not take out larger student loans (if that was an option for her)?I understand that she would be worried about paying them off, but if a higher education really is the gateway to a better paying job, wouldn't the risk of higher student loans be worth it, if she wanted it badly enough?

    Then I got to thinking that I might be being unfair (not as far as the excuse of work goes, I still stand by my opinion on that matter), but regarding financing. One might think that the poor/less economically advantaged would be less risk adverse regarding student loans, being highly motivated to succeed at getting that degree that leads to a higher paying career, and in my opinion this makes sense from a logical standpoint. But perhaps the economically disadvantaged don't think this way at all; perhaps coming from a place of less affluence conditions them psychologically to be more risk adverse regarding money. Perhaps it’s not just the money aspects that keep the less well-off from completing a college degree, perhaps there's also a psychological component that keeps them wanting to play it a bit safer instead of taking risks that some of us would be more comfortable with.

    Food for thought… how much of this problem can be attributed to society and how much can be attributed to the individual? Because I don't believe that it's 100% either one.