Making it rain, every week on schedule.
Become an advocate for something. Okay, that seems easy I thought to myself as I left class last week. However as I began to think about it this subject became more difficult. What do I care about? How do I want to make the world better? Do I want to make the world better? Do I even think there is anything wrong with the world? My life has been pretty much isolated from any struggles or hardships that I would find a cause in. I grew up in the middle class, went to an average school, got good grades and got into college. I don't have any connection with many of the causes one would align themselves with. Poverty, world hunger, Aids, drugs, homelessness, all are things I believe should end but I find no calling to change these things. Without passion to end these things I won't make a dent in the outcome. How am I supposed to help these people when I am not invested in the outcome and have never been affected by the things themselves. I began to think what types of hardship I have witnessed that I could relate to and then it hit me, the Education Gap.
I went to Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park, MN. This is a diverse school to say the least. The so called "minorities" are not the minority and the school is about evenly split between whites, blacks, and those of the Asian persuasion. I believe this made me a well rounded individual and helped me prepare for the real world because reality is not a private school full of white rich kids. When I graduated I went off to college and when I came to the U, a university in the middle of a metropolitan area that reflects my high school greatly, I was surprised to see that the demographics were not reflected in kind. Why? Lack of financial aid? Doubtful, with all the organizations giving out money to make college affordable for those who weren't traditionally admitted this is not a valid reason, at least not a large enough reason. Lack of education? I went to the same public high school available to all. Even a little lower than most. Yet I got into school. But why is only one of my black friends in school with me while I can not count on both hands and both feet the number of white friends who go to school here from my high school. I've found that the answer to this question has more to do with society's perception of who goes to college than the reality of who meets the standards.
The Rosenthal/Jacobsen study determined that success in the classroom is largely based on the expectations of the authority figures. The original Pygmalion study involved giving teachers false information about the learning potential of certain students in grades one through six in a San Francisco elementary school. Teachers were told that these students had been tested and found to be on the brink of a period of rapid intellectual growth; in reality, the students had been selected at random. At the end of the experimental period, some of the targeted students--and particularly those in grades one and two--exhibited performance on IQ tests which was superior to the scores of other students of similar ability and superior to what would have been expected of the target students with no intervention. These results led the researchers to claim that the inflated expectations teachers held for the target students (and, presumably, the teacher behaviors that accompanied those high expectations) actually CAUSED the students to experience accelerated intellectual growth. Translate this to my experience in high school and I see now why there is a shortage of minorities in college. At my graduation ceremony many people celebrated like it was a miracle to graduate from high school. This should not be seen as an accomplishment but a requirement. It should be expected to graduate and move on to college. With higher expectations by teachers, parents, and other authority figures, there will be a large increase in success across the board in public high schools. The expectations for me from my parents, administrators, and teachers were always get good grades and go to college. I saw this as the norm so it was not a big deal to accomplish. But the expectations were not the same for every person in my high school. This is something that needs to change. Graduation should not be seen as a miracle but as something every student should be able to do. Educational equality will only happen if the expectations are equal.