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Educational Autobiography

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Table of Contents


Chpt1……. A Single Mother’s Push

Chpt2…….Open Your Eyes

Chpt3…….The Bridge

Chpt4…….Impact of high school & PUPP: Challenge Yourself


Chpt6…….The Shift (from the top to the bottom)


Chpt8…….Keep Moving Forward


Chapter 3

Impact of High School & PUPP: Challenge yourself



    When I read "History and Culture: Wrestling with the Traditions of American Education", one paragraph really stuck out to me. It read:

“Education is viewed as the equalizing agent in our society, and meritocracy is viewed as the path to achieve that end. According to this belief, anyone who works hard will fare well. However, the ideology of meritocracy has an underlying flaw. It does not take into account the prevalent inequalities in our society (35).”

    These lines reminded me of my whole high school experience, leading up to college. I’ve attended the Princeton University Preparatory Program (PUPP), which takes the top percentage of students in the Mercer County Area from four different high schools to participate in intensive college level classes during the summer. All of the high schools were public; however, the high school I went to, Trenton Central High School, was the only one that was located in an urban setting and composed of a majority of Black/African American and Latino students. The other three schools were diverse, except Princeton High School, which was totally different than my high school. That school has majority of Asian and White students. It is considered the “best school” out of the four high schools, whereas my high school is considered the “worse.”

    When I would engage in conversations with my peers from the other three schools, they would tell me about their curriculum and classes that they were taking. The other schools had so many AP courses, more than 10. However, my high school only had four. I joined the program when I was a rising sophomore. My peers were talking about the AP classes that they were going to take, while I sat silent. They could take AP classes as sophomores, whereas I had to wait until I was a junior. This is because they had so many AP courses, that they could begin as soon as they were ready, while I was restricted. The quote comes into play in this scenario because although I worked hard and received good grades, like my peers in the program my freshman year, I did not “fare well” like them because I was deprived. They took AP Psychology courses, AP government, and many others that my school did not offer and are useful to prepare one for college. When I came to Bryn Mawr, many of the students had already taken psychology, so they did not have to learn the basics like I did. They already came into the class knowing much of the material that the professor covered. Although we were all getting an education, it was unequal because of the opportunities that were not given to me. I believe that one of the biggest flaws in the urban school district is the lack of support from parents, staff, and students. Everyone just seems to settle for how things are instead of pushing to make them better so that the students receive the same education that other suburban schools are getting.

    Another flaw is the lack of knowledge. Since there are so many AP classes at the other three schools, the students think that it a “norm” to take those classes. This also, puts them ahead. At my school, the AP classes are rare. Many students have not even heard about them. I believe public urban schools fail to educate their students on opportunities that can benefit students both in school and outside of school. I do not think that they know it can make a difference with some students if they know what resources are available to them. Instead of informing, some staff members have preconceived notions that students in urban public schools cannot prevail. The article hinted on this issue when a first-year first grade teacher was told the kids were low and the teacher should not be worried if the students don’t do well because the whole school is low (pg.55). Because the students were from an urban area and students of color, they were not given high expectations. This is the inequality that the quote refers to. Teachers already make judgments about students based on the color of his or her skin. Before a student of color opens his or her mouth, they are already judged, but not white people. They are more privileged and have a higher expectation to do well (51). White people get to speak before they are judged.

    Being a black woman experiencing an urban education and inequalities in society, I have learned to push through and remain strong. I had to have the drive and persistence to challenge myself to take the four AP classes that were offered to me, as well as attend PUPP to do schoolwork during the summer. I became aware of inequalities in the educational system my first year in PUPP after conversing with my peers from suburban schools. It motivated me to challenge myself as much as I could and use all of the resources provided to me.