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Reflection on Access to Education

meggiekate's picture

"In my life, I’ve been very blessed with my access to education and what opportunities my education has provided. My education takes place in classrooms, homes, and the outdoors with all my experiences in each providing different types of educations that all inform one another. However without my education in school, I would not be able to relate my experiences to one another and realize their significance. My education thus far has unintentionally been a practice of John Dewey’s philosophical theory on education, which he describes in Education and Democracy: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education as the connections between our experiences and our reflections of them. Dewey implies that education is an endless process in life as we are always discovering these connections by the process of thinking about our past and the consequences of our past on our future. His classed assumptions about education are that with his definition, to be educated, one must have time, energy to reflect on experiences and have access to a school that educates the whole self – mind and body. Within the working class, this access and opportunities are not normally possible. In Anzia Yezierska’s novel, she brings class to the forefront by describing how one from a working-class background feels in an upper-class college setting. Her novel seems to support Dewey’s philosophical stance on education in that her life experiences only had significance once she had the tools to reflect upon them. However, her novel also challenges some of Dewey’s classed assumptions about education in regards to where education occurs. Using Dewey’s philosophical theory of education and Yezierska’s classed experience of college, we can understand how one’s access to education can be simultaneously limited and enhanced by class, specifically for those from a working-class background. Given these two accounts of education we can also see how once one achieves access to education, one only achieves access to more possibilities for learning and education."



When first beginning my paper for this week, I thought I had fairly concrete ideas in regards to access to education and what education gives us access to. However, as I delved deeper into some of the texts, I found that I was actually semi-lost about what each author was saying and implying about access to education.

A lot of the times in class and in the readings, I’ve wished for a bit more specific information about the general state of the relationship between class and education. We all know that everyone has different educational opportunities and we’ve been discussing isolated cases of educational experiences around the U.S. but I still feel like I’m lacking an understanding of the overview of people’s access (or lack thereof) to education in the U.S. In addition to this, I’ve also been wondering about what education means across geography and class divides. For example, I feel like those in the working class in the South holds very different values in terms of education than those in the working class in California. Of course, education could also be divided across race, gender, religious, et cetera and each would provide a different perspective on education. I understand that since this course is about class and education we are focusing, of course, on class and education but I feel that we can’t talk about them without also talking about other societal divides and by semi-ignoring them, I feel like we’re missing a big chunk of the picture. How am I supposed to draw conclusions about education in regards to only class when so many other factors are in play? What would be the use of that?