Education and Responsibility

Insights into the Education System

Culture of Poverty

One of the biggest issues with the "culture" of poverty is the consequences and bias that it brings to the table. Teachers bring in a heavy bias that most kids in the lower socioeconomic bracket are hoodlums, gangsters, and all around bad kids that don't want to learn. They take the stereotype to heart. They end up picking one or two of their "favorites" and think the rest will just eventually drop out of school. This leads to incredibly low moral for the majority of schools in this bracket. Another issue is that sometimes the school systems don't realize how much effect these stereotypes can have on their students. Eventually, it becomes a problem of a "self-fulfilling prophecy," and these students DO sometimes end up the way teachers picture them because that is how the students have been treated their whole life. It is a huge problem and needs to be changed in order for students to actually want to learn.

Another issue it brings is the mimicking. My own high school was considered a low-income school, mainly because it was fed by a suburb filled with apartments and people living in welfare communities. While the school itself was newer and actually quite nice, and the teachers there did seem to care, the image it portrayed was harmful. Students started to think that they were the poorest in the district and therefore should act like it. The students emulated what they thought they were, because that's how they were treated. If given a chance, I'm sure those students would have loved to learn and be active in their education.

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Dropping Out

As I said before, my school, while nice, had the image of itself already ingrained in its mind. Departments were in debt because of the lack of funding the students provided, and teachers were constantly getting laid off. But instead of teachers who performed poorly, it was the newer teachers who were trying their best to make a difference.

In 2011, Morton Ranch High School was the first school in the Katy ISD district to begin protesting. They walked out of the school, and demanded that their teachers come back- who was going to teach them? Teachers they hated?

I’m sure that on that day, some students already had decided they were going to drop out. Without a proper relationship between students and teachers, and even students and the administration, things like this can happen. Students were not told that this was the plan from the beginning. The students wondered, “Where is our funding going?” They certainly couldn’t afford it- they were low-income students.

Another issue that caused many suspensions and expulsions was zero-tolerance policies. Already proven to never work, a new principal in the school decided that if you were even one second late to class, you would get detention. And if you got three detentions, you would have the ever-so popular in-school suspension (which of course, was both humiliating and noneffective at the same time). This, mixed in with the fact that they had reduced time between classes from seven minutes to five minutes, caused more than half of the school to suffer detention. When over half of your students are being reprimanded, it is time to take a step back and look at what is going on.

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