March 1, 2013
Educational Achievement and Upward Mobility
In many cities throughout the United States, people live in a state of poverty, lacking the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter needed to survive. Governments have tried numerous policies to life people out of poverty, from financial aid to affirmative action programs. Yet, Government aids are not enough to guarantee educational achievement. Educational achievement is the single largest influence on an individual’s future earning power. Education creates and shapes a person’s future. People fail to realized that the educational system has the greatest impact on the lives of American citizens. Although low income students despair about the rising cost of education and if it is truly worth the investment, given the current socioeconomic conditions, education still offers the best opportunity for upward mobility.
Low income students lose interest in learning during their early teens. Their families do not have the income to provide for extracurricular activities such as music, performing arts, or sports clubs. As a result, teens stay at home where they are heavily influenced by the computer and television. American mainstream culture deters students’ interests in learning. Hip Hop culture targets young teens, influencing them to be rebels and introducing them to drugs and parties. Students are held back in school, failing to complete their education. In Hip Hop culture, success is not determined by education. This view undermines the importance of the public school education system. Successful hip hop artists and entertainers are considered successful primarily because of their ethnic and economic background. Tupac Shakur, the Notorious BIG, and 50 Cent, are known for their gang related activity while growing up in the hood. Many low income students are able to relate to these artists. They are influenced to rebel against society and the education system. Students are disillusioned in the importance of education and success. Education is necessary for upward mobility, though American mainstream culture does not support this interest.
Low income families struggle with the basic necessities of living, making education a low priority. Students from low income families who successfully complete high school are not able to afford college. They end up working minimum wage jobs, saving endlessly to receive a college education. The value of education is lost on many students; most lose the ambition of investing in an education. They become trapped, struggling with daily responsibilities. Education is important because it can be the deciding factor which changes their circumstances. As John Marsh asserts, “While education will not put food on your table, it can be the beginning of a better life.” (Marsh 1). Marsh’s view exemplifies why education is necessary for upward mobility. Education must remain a priority, even for low income class families who struggle with daily expenses.
Most individuals who work minimum wage jobs become entrapped. They do not have the time or energy to pursue an education. Their jobs often require long hours for little pay. Minimum wage workers become a slave to their job, unable to quit, and unable to achieve upward mobility. According to the United States Department of Labor, “minimum wage workers tend to be young. Although workers under age 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers, they made up of about half of those paid the Federal minimum wage or less.” This shows that many younger people end up working minimum wage jobs, instead of being in school. The need for money in higher education has driven many students to take a minimum wage jobs to pay expenses. They become burdened with responsibility of paying for everyday expenses.
Many students go into debt trying to pursue an education. In order to obtain an education, money becomes the determining factor. Loans...