Education Richard Rodriguez and Mike Rose Both Essay

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Education

Richard Rodriguez and Mike Rose both write about their education. In "I Just Wanna Be Average," Mike Rose recounts his experience in Catholic school as an Italian-American from a working class family background. Because of a school error, he was placed in the vocational tract at school. The experience taught Rose a lot about the low expectations place on students, the lack of effective role models in the classroom, and the inability of teachers to inspire their students. These problems are especially evident in the vocational tracking programs, because once Rose moves to the college prep courses, he realizes that he was being encouraged and challenged more. In "The Achievement of Desire," Rodriguez also writes about his experience in Catholic school, from a Latino-American working class family background. Unlike Rose, Rodriguez was somewhat of an over-achiever. He worked hard, and earned good grades until he was able to secure a scholarship to Stanford. Even though people see him as being remarkably successful, Rodriguez questions the impact that his education had on his relationship with his family and community. Both Rodriguez and Rose show how the education system fails to give students a sense of purpose.

Mike Rose's essay "I Just Wanna Be Normal" is about the prejudices inherent in an education system that believes that some students are innately smarter than others. Instead of trying to find ways of reaching out to all students, educators believe that students in the college prep classes are "smart," whereas the students placed in the vocational tract are not. In fact, many students in the vocational tract are very smart but are simply not using their potential because they have no good role models.
As Rose puts it, "The vocational track, however, is most often a place for those who are just not making it, a dumping ground for the disaffected," (2). Being disaffected implied being unmotivated. Rose also uses the term "dumping ground" purposely, to show that the prevailing attitude towards many students is that they are worthless. The only worth of students in vocational classes is to develop a skill that can be applied to a menial labor job, instead of developing critical and creative thinking. Rose also shows that education in America is segregated according to social class, which means that students who believe that education is for gaining vocational skills will never have the opportunity to explore other types of learning such as learning about literature, philosophy, or engineering. Rose argues that it is important to change the educational system so that teachers inspire all their students.

Rodriguez also believes that the American education system is failing its students who are from working class backgrounds. However, the problem that Rodriguez found with his Catholic school education was not that it did not encourage him to achieve. Rodriguez found a lot of inner discipline….....

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