Posted by: CJ | August 15, 2010

Slow and Steady…

Two of the last middle-class families in my pre-college school district have just left the district. Loudly and vocally.

The school district I grew up in has been on a downhill trend all my life. It’s been on one for the past 40 years, really. Ever since changing demographics (i.e. race issues) convinced people that they wanted to live in the suburbs instead of the city itself. That was the first stage of the declining middle-class here. The second stage was that the children of city middle-class folks didn’t stay in the city. They either went to the suburbs or, even more often for the high performing students, left the area altogether.

This is frustrating to me, in a sense. When I was in the school district the lack of vitality and vibrancy many middle-class families can bring was a continual frustration. It limited many of my opportunities in high school, and it took me a number of years to get over that.

But I can’t fault those families too much. Sometimes a school system, any system really, is going downhill beyond your ability to change. And in that situation it seems best to move on.

What saddens me the most is the thought the various students capable of more than they’ll accomplish, who could’ve done more if they’d been presented with the possibility and its challenge. Without that sort of example and reality check, it’s easy stop believing you can affect your own life somehow. It’s also nearly impossibly difficult to get the sort of intellectual stimulation and moral support necessary to move onwards and upwards in life.

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Responses

  1. Some of us do see it and try… but it does feel like a losing battle at times, your right.

  2. It’s when I think about these situations that I start wanting to say I want to be counted amongst the, “We need a radically different education paradigm that works from the presumption that different people want different things out of an education and are capable of different things.”

    But I suspect when I start envisioning how I’d change things, it’s quite a bit different from what most people think of. Amongst other things, I’m too comfortable sacrificing the present generation in favor of future generations. (Provided that you get a decent pay-off. I’m not in the Republican camp of “keep screwing ’em over until they’re rich white males”.)


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