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Reflection on One's Access to Education

ssaludades's picture

When I was brainstorming ideas to right about for my essay, initially, I had been intending to write about how class affects a person’s access to education. The amount of money and cultural capital a person possesses determines how easily resources are available to him/her and the quality of the resources available; however, when reflecting and comparing between Tompkins’s, Yezierska’s and Rodriguez’s educations and their consequences, I found that that amount of resources a person has access to does not determine the level of satisfaction a student will walk away with once higher education is attained. What unfolded was that individuals have a choice in what they get out of their education by means of the different ways in which they choose to utilize their resources at hand to gain what they want and develop into who they are. Thus, education was really the vehicle in which people find themselves - discover their passions and potentials.

In any case, how my essay unfolded was very surprising to me because as with the essay before, I focused on the individual’s responsibility and his/her role in his/her education. Since it is a reoccurring topic, I’ve been contemplating about what that says about myself and if this reflects on how, as a second generation immigrant, I’ve had similar feelings like Minatoya’s parents that education is like a vehicle to get to each person’s “American Dream” - a mode to seek opportunity, freedom to be oneself and to utilize one’s potential, and the power to defend one’s human dignity - all of which relies on self determination and reliance to happen.


Samyuktha Natarajan's picture

On reflecting on the

On reflecting on the connection between access and education, I felt as though I was trying to find some sort of justification for the undeniable gap of access to education that we saw just within our seminar classes. In trying to find some underlying reason for such a huge difference, I felt as though assumption and stereotypes associated with various backgrounds were at the root of the problem. Similar to Lutrell's piece, I feel as though these assumptions are linked to the "cultural capital" that each person, from whatever background, brings to society.

In more affluent neighborhoods, access to the college prep schools and even just "Blue Ribbon" public high schools make access to education much higher. This access given to these students, is based on the assumption that EVERY one of these students wants to pursue a college degree. On the other hand, there are those schools that have the assumption that their students are only capable or interested in pursuing jobs right out of highschool, thus leading them all down the vocational path. And finally, there are those schools that simply provide neither the acadmic rigor meant to push all students into a four-year college nor the skills for job application provided by schools steering their students clear of a college degree.

These differences all seem to rest on the assumption that students coming from different backgrounds have different expectations for success, and simply in their interest and ability to attend college or join the workforce, or do neither be let loose in the world after four years of high school.