Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ACA: Origins & Trajectories

Haley Scholars Spring 2013 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?


TaNeal W. said...

I undoubtedly agree with the fact that lower class students are being forced into an unproportionate level of expectations in college. With a certain ACT score and high school grade requirements colleges admit students into their facility. However, high schools differ in academia depending on the district. Most importantly, college preparation is lacking for the students who attended school in a lower class sector. I can't agree more that this is unfair. However, with time, determination, and mentorship I am certain that these underprivileged individuals can overcome their short comings and come out on top. If they are not mentally equipped with dedication they will most likely venture out to find a different avenue of success. Like no other, college is a place that offers a CHOICE for individuals to succeed academically.

Jamila M. said...

It is a sad truth but those in low income communities simply do not get same education as those that have more resources available to them. In order to receive an adequate education in many poverty areas, that student must show promise early. Less and less time is spent getting young people involved and interested in school. But all the blame is not on the education systems, the parents are at fault as well. It is their job to direct and raise their children, instilling work ethic and goal but many are not. There are many aspects of the education system I feel need to be changed but because of that I do not discourage young people coming to college trying to better themselves. Those unprepared simply have to work a little harder and in the end they shall be rewarded for their work.

Candace P said...

I definitely agree with the idea that students from low-income backgrounds are entering college academically unprepared when compared to middle-class counterparts. Most school districts in low-income areas are not adequately preparing their students for college. In general, these schools require the bare minimum from students which undoubtedly hinders their ability to reach his/her fullest potential. Furthermore, the school districts’ low expectations help to establish bad habits and enforces the misconstrued belief that one can succeed academically with little dedication and effort. However, it is not only the school districts responsibility, but also the parents’ obligation to ensure that their children are academically prepared for college. But there is no guarantee that parents are fully aware and/or understand the dedication and time required to be prepared academically. Ultimately, it is the government’s responsibility to set higher standards and regulations in regards to “prepping students for college.”

Brenda W. said...

From direct experience, I can verify the truth of this prompt. Coming from a high school in the south suburbs of Chicago, the education was terrible. Students literally graduated without learning a thing all four years of high school. Our ACT scores were unreasonably low and since many colleges still accept kids with low scores, they had no motivation to do better. It was up to the students as individuals to seek an education and up to their parents to motivate them. Racial, ethnic, and class barriers play a huge role in the issue of under-prepared students. It is not to say minorities are incapable of being prepared, but the education system is different for us. Based on where we live and who we live around, our education is flawed and watered down compared to middle and upper class areas.

Abagail Thompson said...

As much as I wish it was not true, students from lower-class families are entering into the higher academic world less unprepared than their middle-class counterparts. In high schools today, students are being trained to do well on standardized tests that satisfy the state, rather than college preparation or "real world" skills. There is a strong pressure on not only the teachers, but also the students, to produce adequate scores on standardized tests. Because there is so much pressure, it becomes a main focus in the classroom (especially in impoverished districts that rely on state funding granted by test scores). Due to this epidemic, students' academic growth are being stunted. It is true that every student can rise above the system, and thrive abundantly in the world of higher education, but it is certainly harder when they have not been prepared or "groomed" for college. Their college experience can definitely be hindered because of the low expectations and college preparation in high school.

Tia S said...

Sometimes it is the case that students from low income backgrounds feel unprepared/under prepared for college, but I don't believe that just because they did come from a low income background that they ARE unprepared. My mom came from a low income family, went to school in East St. Louis and obtained a degree from Northwestern. She, without a doubt, felt prepared for college. When I asked her about the idea of the low income students being under prepared, she responded that neither she nor anyone else applying to college would do it if they felt unprepared. I don't think of my mom as an exception or special case. Her sisters had the the same pre-college education she did and felt prepared. The quality of a teacher isn't based on how much money they earn.

That being said, I do agree that my mom and other students from low income areas wouldn't have had the same college preparation that I had from my schooling in a higher income area. Surely there are students from poorer backgrounds that feel like they're not at the same level as their middle-class counterparts. There are also surely low-income students who entered college and felt as prepared as the other students because of their GPA, achievements, and hard work. They would perform better than middle-class students who just barely made it into college.

I understand all the points that the others have made in their posts, but I believe that regardless of background that college preparation is heavily influenced by the individual; their will, ambition, motivation, goals, etc.

Jennifer Johnson said...

I believe that there is is truth to the idea that students from low income backgrounds who are entering college may be less prepared than those from middle class. I believe this because alot of times those who are entering college from lower class families may be the first of their immediate family to be able to go to college and since their parents might not know what to expect, the students may be going in blind