It is nationally known that the U.S. educational system isn’t perfect. It, at least, wasn’t what it used to be. A main flaw in the education system is separation through social classes. Are students of lessor fortune given less opportunity to achieve their goals in life? Chana Joffe-Walt wanted to test this question by introducing the privileged, more expensive side of education to a less-fortunate school in the Bronx.
The students right away noticed an outstanding difference. One of the students from the public school in the Bronx, Melanie, stated it was just like she imagined high school to be like when she was a child. However, their harsh reality isn’t this up-scale, private institution; it is a run down, small public high school in a ghetto part of the Bronx. Melanie was one of the only students that didn’t keep her emotions inside when seeing this school. She immediately started screaming and crying that this is unfair.
Melanie was a girl from the ghetto part of south Bronx. She grew up loving books and education. She had straight A’s in high school and the teachers loved her. Melanie was one of those individuals that people just knew, without a doubt in their mind, that she will make it big in life. One of the main things stopping her was the lack of opportunity she had growing up. She didn’t have the money to go to an elite institution and she felt that the high colleges wouldn’t even consider her because of the type of high school she went to.
However, she was given the opportunity to go to the university of her dreams with a full scholarship. It was a long, emotional process and she didn’t end up getting in. Melanie was so devastated; she completely backed out of her dream to go to college and disappeared. Jonathan was a similar case. He is a kid that grew up in a foster home through out high school and never saw college in his future. He was motived by his girlfriend and realized that he was very intelligent. Jonathan ended up going to the university he applied for but flunked out. He was afraid to speak up about the fact that he was unable to purchase the textbooks.
Raquel was in the same shoes as both Jonathan and Melanie. She didn’t have the money or opportunities just like they didn’t. However, she was able to over come everything through hard work and dedication. She didn’t give up and she wasn’t afraid to speak up about anything that wasn’t going right. Raquel made it through college successfully and is now a teacher.
Melanie was right when she said that the education system was unfair. She was right when she stated that kids of family with money have way more opportunities than kids of less fortune. She was right when she told her teacher Pablo to “be fucking realistic” about her going to Harvard because a public school like the one she went to didn’t teach them with such high prestige. However, if there was one thing I learned from this podcast, it is that no matter what circumstances you are forced into, there is always a way out. It may not be as easy as it is for others, but the main part is to just focus on what you do have rather than what you don’t have. Raquel was able to do that. She achieved her success by focusing on herself and not giving up.
Do you believe that under-privileged students can make it out of these tough situations through hard work and dedication?
What are ways to make sure every student gets the same opportunities for their future?