In the stories, I Just Wanna To Be Average, by Mike Rose and The Achievement of Desire, by Richard Rodrigez, a timeline of their educational progress is exposed. Both are the offspring of minimally educated immigrant parents. Who’s families settled into the working-class of California. Without having their parents as scholastic role models, Rose and Rodriguez had to find their own way through the education systems. Despite the lack of supportive social conditions, both Rodriguez and Rose were inspired to surpass the status quo expectations environmentally bestowed upon them.
Mike Rose, who wrote I Just Wanna Be Average, started his schooling with a bleak future. His lower class immigrant parents hoped that sending their son to Our Lady Mercy would put him on the track to success and surpass all of his family member’s level of education. Rose shares, “No one in the family had gone to college; only two of my uncles had completed high school” (166). Unfortunately, Rose ended up in the vocational program. A program that groomed students, not for college, but to better assimilate into the working-class. The vocational track is one that does not pave the way for a bright future. Its graduating class is comprised of underachievers who lack motivation and have no desire to get ahead. The same could be said about Mercy’s staff. Rose paints a picture of his educators by mentioning, “Civics was taken over by a football coach who had trouble reading the textbook aloud --and reading aloud was the centerpiece for his pedagogy” (163). Surrounded by stubbornly dense students, and less then enthusiastic teachers Mike Rose seemed to not have a chance.
Much like Rose did not have the support of an educated role model within his school program, Richard Rodriguez did not have the support of his family. Also coming from a lower-income immigrant family, Rodriguez found it hard to receive any help from his parents who’s English speaking abilities were sub par. He points out his frustration, “I was oddly annoyed when I was unable to get parental help with homework assignments” (195). Having a parent sit down and work with their children is something that motives. When the child can solve a problem correctly, that gives the student a sense of pride and desire to continue doing well. Without the help and hands on encouragement from his parents, it is amazing that Rodriguez continued to stay driven. Especially when, “he goes home and sees in his parents a way of life not only different but starkly opposed to that of the classroom. (He enters the house and hears his parents talking in ways his teachers discourage.)” (Rodriguez 197). Unfortunately, the environment both Rose and Rodriguez were surrounded by was not a supportive, encouraging one.
Seemingly stuck in a world where education is not a priority, Rose assess his surroundings, “If you’re a working-class kid in the vocational track, the options you’ll have to deal with this will be constrained in many...