A great post at Reassigned Time talks about how low SES students don’t know they can pick harder, more competitive schools. Just going to a community college is a struggle.
I try to show my students that having an intellectual life, a life in which one is curious and in which one thinks about new things and in which one takes pleasure in things that aren’t directly related to a paycheck or the day-to-day, is not something that is a luxury for other people, but rather that it can enrich the lives of “people like us” whatever they do after college. Sure, they may go off to be accountants or teachers or to own their own businesses or to work in a human resources office somewhere. But college can give them, in addition to that qualification that gives them entry into the white collar workforce, new ways of seeing the world around them, new approaches to problems in that world, and new avenues for experiencing pleasure in that world. In other words, even at a College for the Underclass, education need not be just about job training. And I’d go even further and say that it shouldn’t be.