Diversity of Education
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once stated, “Most…think that education should equip them with the proper instruments of exploitation so that they can forever trample over the masses. Still others think that education should furnish them with noble ends rather than means to an end.” What Dr. King was getting at in The Purpose of Education is that education holds many different values for many different people. How can we go about determining one standard value of a college education for a country so recognized for its diversity? Also, is it really true that everyone in our divergent society has an equal opportunity to attend a university? We cannot ignore the fact that the characteristics that separate us will ultimately have a profound impact on both our individual opportunities for and values of a university education.
A kid growing up in poverty does not have near the same probability of graduating from a university as a wealthy individual does, and each learns to value post high school education accordingly. Do you think most poor hungry kids are going to think about college after seeing flashy drug dealers from their own neighborhoods driving Benzes, wearing designer clothes, loaded with jewelry, and toting matching Rolex watches? They know this kind of life is morally wrong, but do you think they would rather see their families continue to live like rats? Many of these kids have already dropped out of high school to better support their families by working a full time job. So many times funding is not the only problem. Sure, they could probably get financial aid to go to college and make even more money in four to six years, but hungry stomachs and overdue rent payments just can’t wait that long. Even this would rely upon another factor of informing these poor children of their supposed “opportunities” for attending a university. However, trying to escape the cruel world of the ghetto, many of these kids enter the life of crime. They enviously ridicule college life and downplay higher education in order to ease their minds. It is a continuous cycle, as these people then influence others to enter the same pretentious lifestyle that enticed them. Education then comes to hold little value to much of the poor, as methods of making “fast cash” paint education as an intangible opportunity exclusively for the well to do.
Who exactly are these poor people that are at an educational disadvantage? Well we all know that there are members of every race living in poverty, but let me share some statistical information with you from the U. S. Census Bureau. Its web site states that the average white family’s median income for 1996 (the most current year listed) was $37,161, compared to $24,906 for Hispanic families and only $23,482 for black families. This seems pretty significant to me, since over $12,000 separates the average incomes of our country’s most populous race from its second and third...