Final Draft of Essay 2
Education is a Multipurpose Tool
Throughout the ages, knowledge has been the most important and useful characteristic a person can posses. Education has helped man create society, culture, language and has helped us discover uses for math, astronomy, and science. I believe the way in which we attain knowledge might be more important than the actual discovery. What we gain from the experience of education and how we use it can be far more useful in helping us lead successful lives. There are often times when certain people do not get the privilege of being educated because they are confined within some societal norm that bases the quality of education on social standing. For example my parents did not have the opportunity to pursue a higher education beyond high school they did not have enough money, they already had children to take care of, and were working full time jobs. Family has played a huge role in motivating me to pursue a higher education. Education also helps guide the mind into cognitive reasoning with which we can can make moral and ethical decisions. To me education is an opportunity to lead a successful life, the opportunity to represent and make my family proud, and gives me the capacity to have just and moral reasoning.
Education can be a pathway toward having a successful future. With a college education it will be easier to find a job and work in the career that one is passionate about. Today, without a college degree it is very unlikely that one will find an exceptional job. Though education gives a clear pathway to a certain goal it is by no means easy. There will always be people who will try to discourage others from pursuing the best things in life based on personal bias. William Perez, an associate professor at Claremont Graduate University, California, describes how intrinsic motivation helps students especially undocumented students overcome prejudices made by those who have predisposed biases. Perez says in his research Americans by Heart that “… students who do well in the classroom show a positive self-evaluation of their academic status at school and a sense of self-control over their academic success and failure.” (117). I think what Perez means is that a student’s personal drive and intrinsic motivation is the deciding factor in whether students will succeed or fail in their academic career. Only our own desires within ourselves can ultimately motivate how we approach life. I was personally motivated out of resilience; I was told I should only pursue an education at city college or at California State Universities because that is what I could afford or what my grades would get me into. While they are still excellent means of higher education I dreamed about getting into a University of California. I had to fight counselors telling me to only apply to CSUs and work really hard to get grades that proved I belong at UC Santa Cruz. So while there were obstacles that I faced in pursuing a higher education I still believe that education and schooling is leading me to success. Even though I had to motivate myself to prove people wrong it has taught me that anything valuable in life is something you have to work for.
I am so privileged to be pursuing a higher education. I was pushed by family, counselors, and close friends to work hard and to pursue a college degree. It also helped that the district I lived within fed into the wealthier school which had access to advanced placement classes, multiple practice SAT and ACT sessions, and tutoring as well as AVID programs. Compared to other schools in our district we had more access to resources because a large percentage of the student body came from wealthy families. The unbalanced distribution of resources caused a gap between schools based on an economic divide. Due to the lack of resources in the more impoverished parts of the city the quality of education became lowered as budget cuts rid schools of helpful extracurricular activities. Teachers who are arguably one of the most influential people in a person’s life got laid off. Inner city schools feel the effect of this the most, since they already have meager funds they are more at a disadvantage for programs that won’t necessarily benefit them in the future and be used as tools for success. Jonathan Kozol argues in his piece Still Separate, Still Unequal America’s Educational Apartheid that less wealthy schools are being stuck with more restrictions obstructing creative methods of teaching. Students are subjected to strict teaching regimes that lack the room for creativity. Classes that do not benefit students who have high objectives are forced upon them based on what society deems appropriate according to their social standing. For example in the Kozol piece he also mentions a young black girl he was conversing with said the “…requirement met by courses that were basically vocational and obviously keyed to low-paying level of employment.” (655). In comparison wealthier communities require challenging and useful classes that will help students in the future. Education has become a system keeping low-income students within their own social class by enforcing vocational classes and keeps wealthier students within their elite class. Instead of bridging the gap and having educational programs that offers every single person the same thing we have created programs that reduce equality (Anyon,3 ).
The difference in the amount of accessible resources is one of the reasons my parents could not pursue a higher education, they could not afford it. Though there was some financial aid available at the time their low-income schools did not have counselors and programs that encouraged students to pursue college compared with wealthier schools in their area. My mother especially resents not receiving a higher education. She wanted to be a lawyer and because she did not have the opportunity to pursue her dream she has always pushed me to pursue mine. Education gives me the chance to make my family proud and represent them. Even though they did not receive a higher education their children will be successful, and their legacy will not be in vain.
Pursuing a higher education is also very important to me because I feel as though it gives me cognitive reasoning in which I can make just and moral opinions and decisions. I think the worst thing that people can do to themselves and others is to dwell in ignorance. A way in which we can progress and become enlightened on issues and concepts around us is to teach Freire’s problem-posing education. According to Paulo Freire in his piece The Banking Concept of Education education needs to shift away from the concept that promotes a transferring of a teacher’s knowledge to a student that requires no cognition which he refers to as the banking-concept. The banking-concept fails to encourage students to view the world critically as they consider reality because there is no promotion of cognizant thinking, it is just used as knowledge depository for teachers (Freire, 3). By using the banking teaching approach schools are not teaching students to think for themselves which only prove to be detrimental. Without the ability to think cognitively and to think independently it will affect job performance and how we conform in society. Freire presents a method of teaching that creates a safe and interactive learning environment called problem-posing education. Problem-posing education will encourage students to pursue their goals and to test and consider opinions different from their own. We need to work toward a liberation in which we regard men and women as conscious beings and consciousness as a way to approach the world (Freire, 6). The problem-posing approach to education promotes the usage of cognitive reasoning that we can apply that to the world around us. If education is taught in a problem-posing manner people will not find themselves buried under the weight of oppression. I personally, through education, want to be able to make cognitive decisions and opinions so that my reasoning may be moral and just.
I have found that UC Santa Cruz approaches education in this problem-posing manner. The campus environment encourages students to question all of the knowledge that is transferred between students, professors, and staff. UC Santa Cruz’s educational system promotes the gaining of an education that can be used for logical reasoning, it promotes a realization among students about how race, gender, sexual orientation, and religious views influence opportunity and influence people’s opinions and ideas. My knowledge of the relationship between the physical world and I has expanded so much in the six months that I have been in college. I took a gender-roles in global cinema in my first quarter at UC Santa Cruz. It taught me through large class discussion and group work how society confines people to strict genders and how many of the cultural rules we follow are man made and would not exist without human consciousness. Even in the past few weeks I have learned about how minorities especially undocumented students have to fight to receive the same education as legal residents. William Perez mentions in Americans by Heart that “… court-mandated equal access education ends when undocumented students graduate from high school…”(25). Even though most of these undocumented students were assimilated into America at a very young age and it it the only home they have ever known the government still restricts their rights to pursue education. I think if people were more educated about the issues concerning immigration and education many more people would try to actively change government policy. That is why I believe education should and is a way to encourage cognitive reasoning so that we all may use that knowledge to make the world a better place. With the knowledge about issues outside of myself I can more easily form opinions and solutions about society.
Education is the process of shaping minds and through that leads to successful living. It gives people a chance to recreate themselves and represent their families. I personally believe knowledge and education is a light that illuminates the dark world around us. We can use it to bring forth humanness in a mechanical world. Education can bring equality and understanding of those who behave differently than us. It is knowledge and what is birthed from education that gives us the opportunity to succeed in all things such as careers, justice, understanding and most importantly the opportunity in succeeding to make a positive impact in this world. I hope that through my educational journey I will be an example of how important education and how it affects everybody no matter that person’s ethnicity, social standing, legal status, gender, or religious belief.
Anyon, Jean. Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work. Journal of Education, 1980.
Freire, Paulo. The Banking Concept Of Education. 1991, Print.
Kozol, Jonathan. Still Separate, Still Unequal America’s Educational Apartheid, New York: Worth Publishers, 2007.
Perez, Williams. Americans by Heart: Undocumented Students and the Promise of Higher Education, New York & London: Teachers College Press. 2012, Print
Through the process of writing and revising my second essay I have found that peer review is one of the most helpful tools when editing a paper. When we met in writing groups, my group members were able to point out places that I needed to fix my writing that I was not even aware of. I also found it helpful to relate and compare ideas with my peers. At the suggestion of my writing group I reread and analyzed the given texts to make my arguments more applicable. I tried to really analyze and explain my ideas by using the sources. I think the most challenging part of writing this essay for me was taking education as a broad topic and personalizing it and thinking about what impact education has had on me personally. I also tried to incorporate my own beliefs into the conclusion at the advice of a peer to really tie my ideas and essay together. I also worked really hard to make sure my paragraph were more cohesive so that my essay had a nice flow from beginning to end. I think with the next essay I will try to work more actively to incorporate sources that enhance my argument and seek peer review more often during my writing process.