- October 3, 2004 at 12:00 am #6639
Why do lower-class people who drop out of school and say ‘there’s no brains in my family’ think that education is not for them? Everybody has a talent, so why do they assume they have no brains just because they are poor?
User Detail :Name : Eoin M., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 20, City : Bridgeport, State : CT Country : United States, Occupation : student, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, October 10, 2004 at 12:00 am #18768
Though modern sociological thought calls it blaming the victim, there is a ‘culture of poverty’ involving modes of thinking and behavior that help keep poor people poor. An analogy might be the person who does poorly in math claiming he’s just not good at it when all he really needs is to buckle down and do it. For him it’s an easy out.
User Detail :Name : Vail, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Mutt, Religion : Atheist, Age : 40, City : Philly, State : PA Country : United States, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, October 10, 2004 at 12:00 am #35171
By the time lower-class kids reach high school, many have been told (verbally, through body language, actions of abandonment, etc.) that they are not smart. Basic affirmations that build self-esteem as a young child were non-existent or weren’t reinforced with examples. Often the parents don’t have the time or knowledge to read to their kids a lot, help with homework, take parenting classes, etc. All of these things help parents break the cycle and show kids the importance of education.
User Detail :Name : Anne23840, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 21, City : Cedar Falls, State : IA Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, October 10, 2004 at 12:00 am #36048
I work in higher education and have for the past four years done admissions work at a private liberal arts institution. Education is more that brains. In many ways it assumes a skill set of navigating through a specific type of bureaucracy. I think less than 30 percent of the country has a four-year degree. The culture of higher education is intimidating. In some cases, attending college may create more fear of separation from the culture they know best with a majority who have not gone to college and fear what may happen if you do.
User Detail :Name : Seth G., Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Jewish, Age : 33, City : Yellow Springs, State : OH Country : United States, Occupation : Enrollment Services, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, October 10, 2004 at 12:00 am #44153
Actually, you have the matter the wrong way around. They are poor because they think they have no brains and drop out of school. There are several reasons they think this way. They live in a tradition, almost a culture, of people who don’t finish school. Because of that, someone in this situation who wants more education must contend with their families and peers considering them ‘uppity’ and perhaps actively discouraging them from more schooling. Also, they are probably not being mentored properly; nobody is bothering to say ‘you can be different, you can show you’re smart enough to break out of the mold, you can be whatever you want to be.’ They probably never heard of financial aid, either; the idea that you don’t need money to go on with schooling is completely foreign to them.
User Detail :Name : Linda22943, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 62, City : Small town upstate, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : Computer Engineer, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, November 3, 2004 at 12:00 am #42109
1)Lack of psycho-social training for educators – If the child is having problems at home and exhibits that frustration or fear the next day at school, the teacher needs to identify underlying causes, i.e. child witnessed his mother being abused and couldn’t protect her. He gets labeled “problem child,” or “violent”, then gets reprimanded and treated as such. Studies have shown that children of all races, socio-economic classes are initially very eager to learn, but by the time they reach the 4th grade, that changes for some. Verbal and non-verbal messages that say ‘you’re not good or smart enough’ are key causes for the lost interest. 2)School curriculum lacks culturally diverse role models – Their self esteem is whittled away with each lesson received. People of color have been left out of the school books but have made significant contributions to our history. Children need this knowledge to build pride and self esteem. 3)Socio-economic Sensitivity – Studies show the majority of parents regardless of race, ethnicity or economic background, want their children to go on to college. What may be mis-interpreted as uneducated or uncaring, might be a hard working single parent who has two jobs and can’t get time off to come to the school for a meeting.
User Detail :Name : Cynthia S., Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Christian, Age : 40, City : Milwaukee, State : WI Country : United States, Occupation : Management, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, November 18, 2004 at 12:00 am #36206
For some it is easier to have what some people call a ‘self-defeatist’ attitude, instead of applying the effort it takes to make necessary changes. The reason why these people end up in the same ruts as their families is because this ideal ends up becoming a self-fulfilled prophecy. It has nothing to do with smarts or intelligence, or family genes. It all has to do with one’s will to do certain things. This applies to many different situations in life.
User Detail :Name : Ayanna, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Christian, Age : 32, City : Atlanta, State : GA Country : United States, Occupation : Implementation Support Specialist, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, November 23, 2004 at 12:00 am #43558
A certain amount of the lessened drive for education comes from an inability to to perceive the value of education in a meaningful fashion. Having limited contact with people who experienced success through education, (the first thing people do is move to a better neighborhood when they achieve success), they are not aware of the various occupations much less connect them to a particular set of qualifications. It makes for a certain amount of resentment because having no familiarity with the process, they assume it is easy and that they should be entitled to the same opportunities or at least the same stuff. I hesitate to keep saying ‘they’, but I have met a lot of people like this. I have only an associate’s degree, and I could not be more alien to them if I had antennae and a tail. A certain amount of that thinking is simply an under stimulated intellect. One job I had we communicated with walkie-talkies, and our crew always had some kind of debate or discussion going, kind of like a greek forum. When a man came on our shift from another, his contributions to the conversation were limited to ‘What ever you say’ or ‘I don’t know anything about that’. It took about six weeks before he had broadened his perspective enough to think up something to say. He was not unintelligent, just not used to considering matters with imagination. When I had opportunity to work with his old crew, I found out why. They were dullards, all of them, talking only about matters no larger than what they had for lunch or what their dog had done that morning. I guess you could consider it rigid thinking formed by the company you keep.
User Detail :Name : Chris Bruk, City : Kemah, State : TX Country : United States, November 24, 2004 at 12:00 am #22279
I come from a lower class family in a small town in Texas. Growing up, my parents never wanted to better themselves partly because they were busy struggling to etch out rent from part-time jobs. They were never involved in my schooling and they did not teach me how to interact socially with my peers. By the time I was in high school, my point of view was like my parents’. Then I met a guy who changed my life. He introduced me to college and financial aid. After my first semester, old feelings of unworthiness came back and I started to slide. After the birth of my son, I realized that I simply could not do what my parents did to me and now I am back in school and doing well. It just took a little kick in the rear.
User Detail :Name : Dianna, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 25, City : Goodwell, State : OK Country : United States, Occupation : Student, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower middle class, November 24, 2004 at 12:00 am #27060
There may be some truth about some people taking the easy out. The role of parents is also very important. Usually, those with parents that are invested in their children’s education early on are more likely to have the tools necessary to complete college. But, one aspect that has been left out is the role of society in the form of public schools. It is also important to realize that some children are labled by different ‘tracks’ in elementary school. Those who are determined as slower in comparison to the other kids get placed into easier cirriculums. Many of these children may have the potential to get into the fast track classes, but are stuck with the disadvantage of being behind those who are already in the fast tracks. Many of these children come from lower class households or have behavioral problems that are not adequately addressed. The idea behind tracking is that not all students can be at the top of the economic totem pole, there has to be those who fill in the lower levels. So, as the kids grow through the system they are always a little behind and already have a reinforced identity of not being a ‘top tier’ college-bound student. I grew up in a rural community and have experienced this in my public schooling. There are documentaries available about the history and diffent approaches of school administration that are really eye opening about this issue.
User Detail :Name : Sarah-M, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 26, City : Portland, State : OR Country : United States, Education level : 4 Years of College, November 24, 2004 at 12:00 am #38972
As the only person in my family with a college education, I can tell you that my education has created an apparent (though undiscussed) rift between the ‘inner circle’ in my family and who they perceive to be an ‘outsider.’ I have a doctorate, am working in a job that garners more respect than income, and have been treated with an odd blend of reverence and disdain from some members of my family. I’ve thought about this extensively, and I think that working class folks tend to mistrust individuals who are unlike them. In a world where folks base their own success upon the failure of others (a true deficit model approach), an education is the most tangible intangible that an individual can achieve. I am seen as ‘beyond’ the pack rather than running with the pack. If a working class person engaged in a college education begins to see a rift open up between them and the folks they most love, it makes sense that some would opt for ‘family over self.’ No?
User Detail :Name : Kay, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 33, City : San Antonio, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : higher education, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, November 25, 2004 at 12:00 am #19889
I don’t think that your premise is correct, at least as it pertains to class. It may be valid as to some demographic groups. The prospect of upward mobility has long been an important aspect of the culture in this country, and many immigrants have come here just for that possibility. Both Hispanics and Asians, as societies, seem to believe in and take advantage of that potential. In my experience as a secondary school teacher, only Blacks actively disparage this notion as a group, considering it to be an abandonment of their own culture.
User Detail :Name : Gatorboy, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 55, City : Melbourne, State : FL Country : United States, Occupation : retired, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, November 25, 2004 at 12:00 am #34533
If in fact, you are dealing with a person who believes there are no brains in the ‘family,’ this strikes me as a vague attempt to make lack of higher education almost hereditary, hence all around laziness. I have also ran into individuals who believed merely that they had no brains, reluctant to mention the rest of the family, the most recent and popular reason for this: Bad SAT scores. So my family couldn’t afford a 4 year college for me to go to, I still got what I could. Back to the mentioning of the entire family, parents play an important role, if the person finds out that their parents didn’t have any schooling post-high school, or that their parents made bad grades when they were in school, they may suddenly feel that they are or should be absolved of anyones expectations, once again it’s general laziness.
User Detail :Name : Joe, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 23, City : Houston, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : I.T., Education level : Technical School, Social class : Middle class, November 26, 2004 at 12:00 am #25580
i would like to know if seth g (the first response on the list) knows of spell check, or did his higher education skip over that? ‘Education is more that brains?’
User Detail :Name : Logan, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, Age : 19, City : Boise, State : ID Country : United States, Occupation : Snowboard Industry, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Lower class, November 27, 2004 at 12:00 am #17858
It is definitely a mindset. My family used to be poor, but my parents went to college. By the time I entered high school, they had better jobs. Poor people do not necessarily shun education, but those who do usually stay poor.
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