I met a young, ambitious and intelligent Hispanic female with a bright future in communications. For privacy concerns, I have adopted the name Anna as the name of my friend. Anna is pulling in perfect GPA scores above 90 and most if not all of Anna’s education at the local university is paid in full by way of grants and scholarships. Anna does not have to work and only works on maintain her GPA way up in the heavens. Anna’s room, board, meals, books are all covered. If anything Anna pays for is but less than 15% that Anna sets aside for her individual preferences and tastes in however and in whatever Anna chooses to spend on. Like for instance shopping or the local movie theatre and the annual festivities of a bustling small town in Southern Texas.
Anna though is not satisfied with the current states of affairs because Anna says that based upon her strong dedication and commitment to her academia that far excels many students below, in and above her age bracket, Anna cannot come to terms of why grants and scholarships are offered and awarded to students who are not as dedicated and committed as Anna herself is. Per Anna, it is in this so called “affirmative action” that bars Anna from other opportunities in education such as having her education completely paid in full. Anna says that for people who do not have the academic drive to pursue an education or rather for people who do not even earn the average grade, why should the “education system” reward and extend aid to a “the 2%” who most likely will not complete their college and university curriculum and drop out. “All a waste” per Anna. “That is not fair”, “I don’t get it!” says Anna and “I do not see the logic behind that.”
With letters in hand, Anna was not going to seat quiet but aggressively push forward and raise awareness to deans of local colleges and universities and respective politicians in her local district.
I told Anna based on the information she conveyed to me and without having read the paperwork Anna refers to as “affirmative action”, I told Anna that it appears that the US is attempting to maximize on a public good for not only high achievers like Anna but also generously extend the education opportunity to those young and old students who by no fault of their own were born into a world of poverty where no matter how many try to get out, the iron doors do not budge but only with a hall pass (education) to venture outside of Plato’s Allegory Cave” for instance. Is this their fault?
I asked Anna to imagine those individuals who have never known anything beyond “Plato’s allegory cave” and like prisoners tied down in chains by mother poverty were in a split instant were tapped by the opportunities of education grants and scholarships to go far? Would they? I think so.
I asked Anna, take for instance the dislocated individuals and illegal immigrants from Mexico, who for whatever reason Mexico has abandoned to fend for themselves. Where would these individuals go if it were not for the United States?
Illegal immigrants who first must track a long and painstaking journey with not much to carry because out in the treacherous spineless terra firma between Mexico and the US, mother earth is unforgiving and many do not make it and those that do successfully cross are not guaranteed a share of the wealth in the promised land.
Even so, many with limited food, money, and not knowing what awaits them from one day to the next, their motivation is keep alive by HOPE. Hope of a better future if not for the mom or the father, and if not for the uncle and if not for the grandparents but for perhaps their children and grandchildren and future generations of the Familia.
In their hearts, they say or I would say “something has got to give, God please help.” I ask Anna, can you imagine having no where to run and to hide? I told Anna, close your eyes and imagine walking out there and your feet feel as though they are about to break away from your ankle or perhaps the shoes have given up and your flesh is exposed and vulnerable to the dry and unfriendly eco system between the US and Mexico? You have seen the footage in the news of desperate individuals tracking the border from Mexico into the United States.
Told Anna, once in the United States three of the individuals perhaps are children of the Familia who escaped the mouth of Mexico and successfully crossed the border into the United States and perhaps are now among the 1000 students in the inner city sunken school districts. Poor congressional districts that lack the state funding like for instance to score high in math achievement or reading or skills in English and the sciences because they cannot accommodate a large and diverse inner city student body already all clumped together like the leftovers of cookie dough..
Students who get up every morning and head off to school with many of the kids not seeing the logic behind even going to school, What for they ask?, if only but to dribble and mark their lives away because they cannot see a vision beyond Plato’s allegory cave. Anna, as you can imagine, this is but one of a multitude of negative dynamics that underscore and may explain the lack of interest by the kids to learn, the lack of academia motivation as you described, the same kids who eventually journey on through the education system onto junior, then high schools and are now a part of the 2% you talk about.
Of the 2%, it only takes a whiff of the sweetness of butter or maple syrup or the sweet smell of blossoms and honey dew and budding roses to persuade the 3 to grab on to the education tooth fairy and never let go. I can only imagine what I would do if from one day to the next I went from never having tasted Breyers’ chocolate ice cream to actually having it. Another are the new computers with their generic built-in software programs that are limited and do not go very far in IT but sufficiently far enough to tease the average consumer. Consumers who quickly want more than offered and find themselves seeking the immediate upgrade. To many this does not matter, but there are folks who demand the latest computer technology – and will journey great distances, stand in long lines, camp out at places like for instance Best Buy, to get their little hands on the latest IT product out on the market. Why? Consumers have been exposed. Anna, these are only soft analogies of the greatness of education.
Expose individuals to a good thing, a phenomena that offers a way out of Plato’s allegory cave, they will go after it. Though many do not bother with a higher education, many many more do and when golden opportunity taps on their door, many embrace the education tooth fairy and run off with her, never to look back. Anna, the 2% however small the number, is not really a waste I don’t think, but rather the few who were somehow able to achieve their education goal and earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate (the hall pass) out of Plato’s allegory cave.
It is sad how governments such Mexico and Burma for instance in SE Asia - the root of so much suffering of people cannot resolve their political, socio-economic civil instabilities. For instance in Burma SE Asia, the military junta goes in and murders any and all babies, children, teens, parents, grandparents and those individuals have no chance. Burmese refugees attempt to escape to Thailand by sea but “Thai operations turns them back out to sea” where their fate finally comes to an end.
Are we not lucky to be here and now, free? Getting an education? Coming and going as we please? We know that the jobs may be limited but not as limited with no degree.