Do You See What I See?

Monday, May 23, 2005

They Don't Want An Education

I've been reading this series called 'Educe Me'. that I came across from reading Feministe.

The series is both eye-opening and upsetting at the same time. I had a completely different high school experience to these kids. First of all, the cultural/country difference considering I went to school in Australia and this is Indianapolis, USA. But there are more 'real' circumstances. I had a priviledged education. I went to Catholic school. It wasn't the 'elite' or 'exclusive' private schools that are constantly reported in the media here but a 'systemic' school. Even though we were exclusive of the systemic set. Basically it meant that rather than being independant school run by a board of trustees or a religious orders, the school 'reported' to the Catholic Education Office. We were well-off in the grand scheme of things even though the girls constantly complained about anything and everything - "we're paying". First of all, your parents are paying and who gives a shit because you still have it better than a lot of others.

Reading the Educe Me series highlighted this for me. I went to a school where there was discipline and where most kids wanted to be there and the kids that didn't were allowed or just did not distrust others. I was lucky.

There were two specific aspects that really tugged at my heart strings:
There was one student in particular that concerned her. She had Rodney when he was a freshman and at the time, he was a “good student”, i.e., doing his homework, being in class on time, studying for tests, and getting good grades. Later into the year, he began hanging out with “the wrong crowd” and his attention and grades started to drop.

She talked to him about it, and more than being a teacher or tutor, she found herself in the position of counselor. For a while, she saw improvement in Rodney. At the start of this year, his senior year, she was able to get him motivated (at least in her class) and his grades were on the rise. However, for reasons I will never know, he is now in a position where he will not be graduating and will most likely not complete his education at the school

This boy wont be graduating. That just breaks my heart. Maybe because I happened to look at my Year 12 jersey today. It needed a wash because it had gotten a mark on it from being in the wardrobe. I haven't wore it since my HSC exams and I really do not think that I will wear it again. Graduation was a wonderful experience. I felt such love for my friends and my school and I remember thinking that everything was right in the world apart from the fact that I was graduating. There was this air of 'I can not wait for university' and a 'I do not want to go'. This story really highlights what a struggle it is for some kids to graduate.

Another sad story:
He started talking about the team he is coaching and mentioned one of the gals on the team had a dinner to attend for school, but didn’t have any dressy clothing. He thought at first that the student was lying because she didn’t want to have to dress up for the occasion, but the student pressed on and he came to find out that the student did not have anything except jeans and t-shirts. He said some members of the staff came together and took the gal shopping for a new outfit. He said it made him think twice about judging students’ poverty levels.

I remember my school formal and the ease at which girls picked dresses, their hairstyles, the shoes and all that. The utter humanity of these teachers just warms your heart and illustrates the poverty that exists in our world and why we have to fight it.