Poverty and Education

Found an interesting entry at brad’s blog on blog-city. He was talking about the Michigan U affirmative action policy. He had a good argument for something else, instead. A poverty-based initiative. I thought his arguments were cogent and interesting, as were his comments afterwards.

Poverty is not inherently a negative factor in education. It is the culture of poverty that makes for poor education.

My family was far below the poverty line when I was growing up, but my parents always read to us, took us to the library as often as we finished our books, and emphasized school to us. I have a PhD. My brother has a LlD. My baby sister is working on her MA.

My father's family were farmers and often below the poverty line for income, although they always had food to eat. He has a LlD. One sister has a PhD. One sister is a CPA. They all have good educations. Because those were emphasized.

A friend pointed me to a great site about the difference between middle class teachers and the lower class students they are teaching. It talks about how the middle class values independence and initiative while the lower class values belonging to the group and not making waves. It is essentially a description of why it is hard for the poor to get a good education. It is because their culture is against it.

This entry is no longer available, because the author took it down. I have a copy of the information sitting on my computer, though. But I don’t want to publish it, because it isn’t mine.

Community Colleges

Plastic: Community Colleges talks about community colleges adding honors programs.

Then it goes on to discuss the fact that more private and public universities are accepting community college transfer students. It mentions that community colleges cost a LOT less than others.

Then it talks about how community colleges aren’t fair to the urban poor who come there if they have honors programs. It says the urban poor aren’t transferring.

Then it ends with a quote, “Even the students who say they want to transfer aren’t really doing so.”

A couple of comments on that:

The urban poor can get in the honors programs. It’s not like they’re restrictive. “Sorry, if you’re from around here and make less than $25K you can’t enter.”

Second, the academics/scholastics who are pooh-poohing the job the community colleges are doing are NOT urban poor. They don’t understand the culture of the urban poor.

A friend pointed me to a great site about the difference between middle class teachers and the lower class students they are teaching. (Unfortunately it is no longer available. Follow the low SES tags to posts on the topic.) It talks about how the middle class values independence and initiative while the lower class values belonging to the group and not making waves. If you don't understand that the lower class students getting an education at the community college are already breaking away from their culture just to do that, you need to read this site.

And, for my personal opinion, a lot of students who say they want to do a lot of things aren't doing so. Ask anyone on campus. They'll say they want to make As. What if they're not. Why not? Because they aren’t trying to make As. They’re not doing what it takes to make As. They just “want” to make As.

Well, I want to win a million dollars. But I’m not buying lottery tickets. So, while I say I want to win a million dollars, I’m not really doing anything about it. Is that the fault of the lottery? No.

If a student says they want to transfer and don’t, is that the fault of the community college? No.

What is wrong with this?

The Chronicle of Higher Ed, in an article I cannot read, since it is subscription only, talks about a donor to a college. In the email alert they send out it says the donor has “deep financial ties to several trustees and a long track record of giving to conservative causes.”

What is wrong with that?

So what if he has deep financial ties to the trustees? Who ELSE do you think is going to give? Folks with deep ties to the college. Which he has. Through the trustees.

But The Chronicle wrote that as if it were a problem. So, he should give to someone he doesn’t have ties with? Good luck with that.

Also, what is the problem with giving to conservative causes? People should only give to causes that match? Well, surprise! Conservatives believe in education.

I think the real problem, though I haven’t read the article to know, is that The Chronicle doesn’t want conservatives in education. They think his giving indicates a movement on the part of the college. Folks, if he already had ties to the trustees, then there was ALREADY a movement at the college.

There is NOT a problem with anyone supporting the college of his choice. The only problem is that The Chronicle thinks there is a problem. Which says a lot about the paper and its own issues.