Adjustment Vs. Adaptation

A perfect system has failed. Outraged cries fill the media. Behold: an evil system is before mankind intending to strip its “victims” of their future, of their rights, and progression! Doors, that once were wide open, are being nailed shot while this system turns its unforgiving back on those who remain in the savage ruins left behind by this mass suppression! This system is known as The Dreadful System of an Uneducated Society. The only force that stands a chance against the Uneducated Society is the modern American educational system. Unfortunately, the United States Educational System is burdened with an assortment of issues brought on by the Uneducated Society. Not only are students failing to grasp basic concepts, most students are “graduating” with less knowledge and capability than similar students in other industrialized countries, thus, obtaining an immediate membership to the Uneducated Society. School violence is rampant, including the many deadly incidents that are reported every year. Even violence on school buses is a tremendous problem. What is the answer? What shall be done to bring this Society to an abrupt halt? Propositions are often proposed by the very same individuals that initially caused the concern. Blame and so-called “finger pointing” comes intuitively to this group and it begins to spread like a plague. Generally, the common approach is to throw money at the problems, and to establish very broad guidelines and laws to solve individual problems of the U.S. Educational system. Regarding performance issues, for instance, the teachers are generally blamed. Therefore better selection of teachers and better teacher training is publicly called for. Regarding violence, metal detectors and uniformed police officers roaming the halls are the common “solution.” But what codes and policies can the Uneducated Society conjure and enforced when Latino students are disciplined differently than other kids; or if non-Hispanic parents possess the power to get an offspring of a Latino migrant worker suspended as they fancy ( Holman )? Since almost all propositions miserably failed on regular basis, the Society was quick to victimize itself and to begin a new trend promising that the main factor in the downfall of the System is pure discrimination. But as the modern world progresses, education becomes one of the few things that stands widely available to its seekers. So, is prejudice against a particular group, providing them with an unfair learning experience, an issue of such magnitude that will render the U.S. Educational system to its collapse?

Evidence appears to fall out of sync with these assertions when the system as a whole is analyzed. It seems that the educational system has reached a point in civilization where attributes such as race and socioeconomic status play no part in obtaining a quality education. In fact, many universities are now, more than ever, encouraging diversity.

Diversity allows for new shapes, textures and imaginings of knowledge; it encourages the innovation and insight that are essential to the creation of knowledge. A diverse community of scholars asks diverse questions and has diverse insights, and so pushes the forefront of knowledge further faster; providing in turn, a richer educational environment for our students. (Etchemendy)

Needless to say the numbers of minorities in American universities are at an all time high as well. For instance 61.5% of freshmen enrolled in Stanford University came directly from public schools. Three fourths of the students at Stanford receive a financial aid package averaging $23,000 each. Moreover, 32.1% of the freshmen enrolled where of African-American decent and 26.3% where of Hispanic decent. The system indeed has many problems and unresolved issues it must deal with to better its influence and quality, but general discrimination is a cheap shot to excuse the matter, for general bigotry is left far behind in history.

As far as an individual’s socioeconomic status is concerned, a record $134 billion in financial aid is currently available to students and their families ( Swanson ). Indeed, a prospective student at any well established institution is going to be faced with substantial financial burdens, but there are sufficient and realistic remedies that promise to alleviate these woes. Four-year private universities cost, on average, $22,218 (up 5.9 percent from 2005). While private four-year institutions have a much wider range of tuition and fee charges, only about five percent of all students attend colleges with tuition and fees totaling $33,000 or higher per year. Moreover, these figures deem very forgiving and accommodating to students who initially would not be able to provide for their education. Besides, an individual is not pressured nor is he or she required to attend prestigious private institutions where they would be obligated to make such figures available. Overall, decisions to pursue education are made in each person as an individual. Taking account their motivation, will, and devotion to obtaining a well rounded education, potentially breaking the family “poverty cycle”. If such ample help is being offered, then why are the “unfortunate” ones not jumping at the opportunity? Family education, responsibilities, life altering decisions, and jobs are all factors that play a significant role in ones decision and devotion to get educated. But, these scenarios are not sufficient to excuse one from the social obligation they have to get an education. Majority of schools offer online courses, night courses and televised courses in order to make education more adaptable to the individual’s life. But, if the circumstances are so severe that none of these options suit the personal needs of the individual, the individual is not restricted by the institution to a minimum number of classes or units each semester. Hence, one could enroll in school for even one class at a time, eventually earning a degree to better their living situation. Consequently the lack of education in these people is merely the product of their personal decisions and “priorities”, not due to a “discriminating” system that conspires to suppress the “poor”.

Cultures around the world have views that conflict and/or vary significantly from one another. Contrary to popular belief, ” we have not blended into a single culture…” but we bear evidence of many “…intact cultural and religious practices that are quite different from….’mainstream’ U.S.A.” ( Flake). This is especially true when cultural convictions in regards to education and its importance, as a whole, are analyzed. Different cultures place different levels of emphasis on education, if at all. In particular, the overwhelming majority that suffer from”…’math anxiety’….-a form of panic akin to a phobia, at any task involving numbers…are women” ( Jacoby 277). This is “…bred on old expectations about women’s interests…” (Jacoby 278), and by drawing from cultural beliefs, it psychologically disables women from pursuing science and math related professions. Principles passed down generation after generation for centuries excluded women from many activities that were deemed “masculine”. As a result of, this perception, varying in strength from culture to culture, still lingers deep inside traditions and, now, is making it self apparent in modern theology. A female is made less of a woman if she fails to stay home and fully devote herself to accommodating her family’s every need. Ultimately that woman will be, in a sense, frowned upon within her society, under a belief that she is not capable of handling such tasks. In addition, weaker expectations and lower achievements are anticipated of a female child, in other words, parents of female children, intuitively, are less demanding of a future in the fields of medicine, engineering, or technology in their offspring, and rather content with a daughter evolved with history, cosmetology, or the arts. C onversely, if a male offspring was to be successful in the fields of history, cosmetology, or the arts, they would be deemed by the society as “underachievers”, in large part due to the classification of these professions as “feminine” professions.

Furthermore, a reminiscent phenomenon is common within the African-American group. It is argued that “…some black students ‘have tremendous disincentives to invest in particular behaviors (i.e. education…) due to the fact that they may be deemed a person who is trying to act like a white person (a.k.a. ‘selling-out’)” (Levitt, Steven D. 160). This accounts for the factor that black students, wanting to “fit in”, will overlook and even censure education and its elements. Clearly the ideology in place by this group of black students contributes directly to the major deficient in the black student body. Moreover, by actively practicing this initiative, a very uncomfortable, undesirable, and at times plain dangerous learning environment is formed. To illustrate the potential consequences of the “offenders”, “…such a label, in some neighborhoods, can carry penalties that range from being deemed a social outcast, to being beaten…” or even “…killed” (Levitt, Steven D. 160). Students who “sell-out” are also subject to constant harassment, abuse, ridicule, and etc. Hence, the low numbers of minority scholars, such as blacks and women, is in no part due to a discriminative system, but to an individual’s motivation and commitment that, at times, is tinted by the level of self-sabotage and the “lenses” with which they view life from. Even the Supreme Court has recognized the “issue” and it has prioritized “…preferential treatment to disadvantaged minorities…” (Tyson 268). But, change in these numbers is unrealistic, at least anytime soon. If an individual places little value in himself, he will not accept value placed in him by an outside source, and in that matter he will fall into a group that constantly complains and makes accusations.

An old aphorism advises: “when there is a will, there is a way”. This wise aphorism sums up the solution of this issue in two simple short phrases. The United States of America has been in the past, and is, today serving as a model nation. Factors ranging from the contents of the Bill of Rights to the complex System of Checks and Balances weight heavily on this role. Failure of the Uneducated Society to adjust in accord with the velocity of modern elements is an unfortunate mishap in the hands of the group itself, not the United States educational system and bureaucracy. The sheer ignorance in part of the individuals in question in regards to the education system is more of a crime then if discrimination itself was present in the system. This nation applies a great emphasis on education and education is often the center of heated debates and budget crisis since political leaders are actively engaged to maintain this American value, and further improve it. World’s most respected and acknowledged universities reside in the States. Among these are Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, Columbia University, and Cornell University. These universities are among the best in the world because they are in a nation that recognizes the value of education, and further assists those who share the same value. Regardless of how the government governs the educational system, it is vital for an individual to take initiative. It is vital for an individual to gain some sense of individuality and independence in order to obtain an education. “Discriminated” has become a constant and inane label assigned to individuals to explain and excuse the failure of a group or of an individual. In a world where fierce competition distorts, corrupts, and even kills people, victimizing one another is a juvenile way of handling a situation that has deep roots dating back to the era of homo sapiens.

Work Cited

A Primer on Discrimination in Education . Ed. Jeff Holman. 06/2003. Minnesota Department of Human Rights. 12 Nov. 2006

Academics and Research . Ed. John Etchemendy. Stanford University. 12 Nov. 2006 .

“Sticker Price” vs. Affordability . Ed. James Swanson. 05/2006. The College Board. 12 Nov. 2006 .

The Impact of Culture on U.S. Law . Ed. Marcella Monk Flake. Yale University. 13 Nov. 2006 .

Jacoby, Susan. “When Bright Girls Decide That Math Is “a Waste of Time”.” Issues Across the Disciplines The McGraw Hill Reader 9th Edition: 277+.

Levitt, Steven D. “What Makes a Perfect Parent? Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. Ed. Stephen J. Dubner. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. 160.

Tyson, Laura D’Andrea. “Needed: Affirmitive Action for the Poor” Issues Across the Disciplines The McGraw Hill Reader 9th Edition: 267+.