Tuesday, September 25, 2012

ACA: Origins & Trajectories

Haley Scholars Fall 2012 Reading Groups

By Chandra Alford

In Chapter 2 of Academically Adrift, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa put forward the issue of under-prepared students flooding into higher education institutions. That under-preparation, note the authors, is caused by class differences among students. The authors support their claims about the origins and trajectories of the issues with statistical data, which breaks things into racial/ethnic differences alongside class barriers and boundaries.

Arum and Roksa admit  that the statistics were stark and displayed the discrepancies in our educational system. Throughout the chapter, they kept relaying the idea that many high school graduates are landing in college without any clear idea or plan for their future. A large proportion of these students come from backgrounds that lacked access to resources due to their parents' lack of education and class status. At one point, the authors paraphrase work by Annette Larceau whose research indicates that "parents from different class backgrounds engage in different styles of parenting, which are differentially rewarded in the educational system.”

What are your responses to the idea students from low-income backgrounds are entering college at higher rates yet largely unprepared academically as opposed to their middle-class counterparts?


Shawn C. said...

The general idea of pursuing a higher education for any person regardless of social class is a great idea. However, being under prepared for higher education, as seen in a lot of lower social class students, leads to a greater fail rate in the pursuit of a college degree. This higher rate of failure can not only have a detrimental outcome for the students educational career, but also in their self esteem to pursue any further higher goal of obtaining a better life. I believe to equivocate the divide in educational preparedness between the lower and middle classes of students pursuing higher education, a more strict series of preparatory classes and tests need to be established in order to better prepare an individual from a more disadvantage background for a faster pace learning environment. If the individual does not make it in a more rigorous prep class, then offer alternative options they could take to lead a happy successful life. There is no rule stating that a higher education has to be one of books and pure academia, as some of the most brilliant minds I have encountered from the lower class have proven their genius through a technical trade. I believe that by incorporating the strengths of the individuals from the lower class, and not trying to force them to conform to the preconceived notion that higher education is only found in books and the atmosphere of academia, the outcome of success will be greatly increased. Thus closing the divide in the gap between the middle class and lower class of success in a higher educational setting. As my father always said "People refer to a shovel as a dumb man's tool, that is until they try to dig a hole for themselves".

Shakita H. said...

I agree and feel that it is unfair for people who are of lower-class and did not have the many opportunities of others more fortunate, to be placed in an environment in which they are not prepared. I feel that students are not being prepared enough in the high schools they come from because the things that are offered and available to them are not equal to what's being given to students of middle-class. I think that teachers are underpaid and it may cause them to not care as much. I feel that the areas in which students are raised in such as living in a terrible and dangerous neighborhood shapes their behavior towards academics. They may not attend school as much which contributes to their unpreparedness for college if they wish to attend. So many people in lower-class want to become better than what they see and want to become something in life; yet they are not properly ready or prepared for college, which is a great step towards success,due to many reasons such as finances, their environments in which they live, and lack of opportunities.

Jessica J said...

I feel that no student should fear entering higher education because of their level of knowledge that they have received. If the resources are not there in the high schools it is not the child’s fault. As an educator, it is our responsibility to connect with parents to improvise and come up with ways to substitute for the resources we don’t have. Students from low-income backgrounds should not be frowned upon when entering higher education. As educators we should applaud them in a sense for trying to step out of their norm even though they may not be prepared. Students that lack the basic knowledge of a “college” student should be encouraged to attend community colleges. Taking this step is much cheaper than taking academic development courses at a university. As a result, they may be prepared for a university after a few semesters.

Robyn R said...

pursuing an education at any level or social class is difficult. I say this because although students who are considered to be middle class and do have the proper resources available they might still not understand the concepts at hand. Being a teacher isn't easy just as being a student isnt easy. I was once in a math class here and we were covering new content. It wasnt necessarily new, but it was something i thought we all learned how to do in high school. A lot of my fellow class mates were having a hard time grasping this particular concept and having difficulty on understanding why to answer the questions in the way instructed.Now that we are discussing how socio-economics plays a roll in kids being unprepared i can se how it has an effect but then again i dont because im sure there were some other students in that class with me who are considered middle class and probably went to a decent high school that had the proper resources but the student still couldnt master the concepts at hand. I dont believe no one is to blame its just a matter of that student needing more time or attention with the subject at hand

Jewel M. said...

The reading mentioned student's ambitions being misaligned. I do not believe the blame should all be placed on the teacher, but the guidance counselor, who is also an educator. Because the education that is received in schools in low-income areas are sub-par, I feel the guidance counselors should do a service to their students and give a realistic account of what college is really like, help their student's explore possible career aspirations, and explain what all needs to take place in order to achieve those aspirations. Curriculum guides, are on most if not all,college's websites and are free of charge to view. I feel if more information is provided, students will make more informed decisions.