Saturday, December 6, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes - Staying In School

One of the reading groups in class has been reading biographies/studying people who have made a difference over the last couple of weeks.  This week their passage was about Elizabeth Blackwell, the first women to receive a medical degree in the US.  The passage told of how, in a time when a woman's role was vastly different than it is today, Blackwell always worked very hard in school, always practicing and asking for more work.  Her father had also been quite influential in her motivation.  I asked the kids some guiding questions to build comprehension of the reading.  They found words that were new to them and used the context clues to figure out the meaning.  During this discussion about working hard in school, one of my boys said, "My dad tells me I have to stay in school and learn."  We all agreed and then he said,  "My dad quit school and now he is plumber."  I told him that a plumber is a good job.  (My plumber makes more per hour than I do.)  He shook his head, "No, my dad said he has to work in poop.  He comes home with poop all over his pants.  I'm going to stay in school.  I don't want to get poop on my pants."
Well, that's as good as any reason to stay in school!


  1. The main discussion in the USA within universities is the costs versus the gains. About 2000 it was noticed the metrics began to reverse adn it was thought to be a glitch in the data. But now we have 15 years of numbers and trends saying the costs do not match the gains.
    On this now I'm only referencing the costs v gains in money terms, gains to the psyche is a different matter.
    The very simplest means to test what I'm saying within your circle is to count how many are now bringing up kids. Granted many girls go and went to uni to work for a MRS degree and hunt the law medical and accountancy like a cheetah. Most don't. But once kids arrive, And not very many of them either. The cost of childcare coupled with all other cost associated with going to work means the family eat the school loans.
    For the kid though, he'll probably have to go to college for plumbing anyway.

    1. Sadly, I wish this boy was talking about college. We work exceptionally hard with this neighborhood to get them through k-12 eduction, let alone college. While we talk about college with them, even in the primary grades, the reality is the majority will not go. There are three kids in my room who have one or both parents who are illiterate in their native language of Spanish. So the whole "I want my kid to accomplish more than I did" has already happened in these families in that their 2nd grader is reading. There isn't that family encouragement for higher ed, it's barely there for graduating high school. This particular dad had his son when he was 16, 23 now with a 7 year old son. He probably had to drop out of school to g a job. I'm thrilled that he is encouraging his son to stay in school. The family is very influential in a child's behavior at school, so having that encouragement from home makes my job of educating him easier. I find the encouragement humerous, but encouragement nonetheless. :)
      I have more to say (of course ;) ) on our current state of attending and paying for college these days, but I'm headed out for the day. I will add more later.

    2. The cost of higher ed has risen dramatically over the last decade or so, and most of our salaries have remained the same or been reduced. It is impossible for pretty much anyone with the exception of the very wealthy to attend school without going into debt. The yearly cost of attending college is often more than a yearly salary. It's exorbitant. A week or so ago, the trustees at the UC system universities gave themselves a raise while increasing the cost of tuition. It used to be an affordable option for a private-like institution at a public school cost. Now, to attend UCLA or Cal it's upwards of $25-30,000 a year...and THAT"S PUBLIC EDUCATION!!! I think most kids start their life as a college graduate with loans, I did, but the amount they are starting in the hole these days in completely unmanageable. I do believe that the salary gap between a college grad and a high school grad has widened. So while the debt will be more out of college, over time they should eventually show more gains than someone who doesn't go to college. But I can certainly see why someone would want to forget education after college due to the cost. And for kids like the ones at my school, tuition alone would make attending college seem unreachable.

    3. It's a different view of life isn't it.
      But they are reacting to the data of their lives and attempting to ready their kids to survive it.
      Many people in the US enter the military in order to get around the gaps. I met a girl in Galway who'd done a stint and now had a degree. She wanted to do a work placement with Druid. Moxy chick I thought.
      But that's not even coming close to solving the issue, only highlighting it.

    4. Yah, I think that's the GI Bill. If you're willing to go into the service, it's a great program. My dad went to school using that after his stint in the Navy. But again, I do believe the benefits are minimal in comparison to the cost of tuition. While those rates have risen, the benefits have stayed the same for quite sometime. And there are scholarships and grants that go unclaimed every year because they do take some legwork to land.
      Having parents who were both first generation college graduates in their families, going to college was the only option I was given. It was never talked about as "if" but rather "when". The home is so powerful and, like you mentioned, with these kids survival is what they are exposed to more than anything else. The option is there, but it is a lot harder for them to break out of their mentality about it when the encouragement isn't there.

  2. that is great..
    not pursuing a higher education was never an option in our family. no if's and but's.

    1. Exactly! That's why it makes me frustrated when I hear people say things like "Everyone has equal opportunities to be successful in this country". The home is so powerful on a child's mindset, that it truly is harder for some than it is for others.