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The Myth Of Equal Education Essay

1700 words - 7 pages

America is often enamored of itself as the champion of equality in every aspect of its society; however, this is often not the case. This is true in every aspect of life, but is very evident specifically in the American education system. Although America claims to give an equal education to all, regardless of any external factors, economic class often plays a role in what type and how good of an education a student may receive. Since education is the basis for future success, this inequity resulting from socioeconomic status implies that this is where inequality in everyday life starts, and that the system generates this inequality. If this is true, then one might ask, what then is the purpose of education? If economic class predetermines the type of education a student will receive, what purpose does it really serve? Jean Anyon, Richard Rodriguez, and Malcolm X all have differing opinions of the purpose of education. My personal experience with the education system contradicts both Rodriguez’s and Malcolm X’s opinion, that through hard work, anyone can receive an excellent education, but supports Anyon’s opinion of the purpose of education, which is that the education a student receives is directly affected by their economic class.
Although coming from diametrically opposed backgrounds, the situation and reason for Rodriguez and Malcolm X’s education is highly similar. The driving force behind each of their educations was their own personal desire to become more educated, and to have a better understanding of things. Although at first appearance, even their educations seem drastically different, they share a defining characteristic. Rodriguez was educated within the public education system, whereas Malcolm X was self-educated while in prison. Rodriguez came from a family in which education was not important relative to other duties, but he had a passion for it. His desire for learning was baffling to his family. Rodriguez says “I devoted myself to my studies. I became bookish, puzzling to all my family. Ambition set me apart” (195). Even from an early age, the defining characteristic of Rodriguez’s unusual education displays itself. That characteristic is isolation. Isolation is what enabled Rodriguez to have such an exceptional education, and started him on the path to believing that through hard work anyone could receive a good education. Rodriguez is isolated from his family by his very desire to become more educated. At first he shunned his heritage, and isolated himself further. As his education continued, so did his isolation, until eventually he realized what had happened, and returned to his family, and found that the isolation and education had changed him in such a way that he could not relate to them anymore. He says “…after the early relief, this return, came suspicion, nagging until I realized that I had not neatly sidestepped the impact of schooling. My desire to do so was precisely the measure of how much I remained an...

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