There’s been so much that I’ve wanted to post about here, but never got around to doing. I want to blame it on the demands of school, and there are certainly many, but it doesn’t deserve all the blame.
I’m supposed to be writing a paper for my educational studies class now. I’m struggling to come up with a topic. This class has been great. We’re learning about…education. One of my favourite topics, as one who went through the notorious Singapore education system. Hm. It’s interesting being able to look at it now from a bit more of a distance. I think it has an identity crisis. But that’s another post for another day, perhaps.
Today I’m thinking about culture. One of the books we read, Hunger of Memory, an autobiography by this guy called Richard Rodriguez, proposed that education requires you to change, part of that change being leaving your ‘home’ culture behind. For him, a Hispanic, it meant leaving his Hispanic heritage. He stopped speaking Spanish, conversing only in English. He began to look at the ‘White’ educated culture as superior. I had a similar post about that awhile ago. I wonder how true it is.
Right now we’re reading about social reproduction theory, which basically says that schools help to perpetuate the class divisions in society. There are many different theories within the theory, but the basic idea is that someone born into a high-class family will end up with a job in that class. Someone born into a working-class family will end up in a working-class job, no matter how well he or she does in school or what level of education he or she completes. Of course, there are always a few exceptions, but the theory says that for the vast majority, that is what happens.
Does being educated require you to take on a new culture? Is the ‘educated’ culture the same as the culture of the dominant class? Or does everyone, regardless of their background, need to adapt to a new culture when they choose to be educated?
Assuming unlimited resources and possibilities, could each class develop its own culture of education? Is that ideal? Is that even possible? Would that achieve anything? What is the purpose of education? Does it really exist to maintain the class structure/social order? To better the world? To “give back”? But in order to give back, a hierarchy of sorts must exist. Otherwise, what do you have to give back to? There will always be different ‘levels’, because people are born with different abilities. So what is education doing? What is it trying to achieve? Maybe we need a change in mindset about what ‘jobs for the educated’ are. We need people to do menial tasks (or do we)? So, I don’t know. Maybe we just need to get rid of the social stigma attached to those jobs. We look at someone without ‘an education’ as someone lacking opportunities, underprivileged, in need of help. But why? What if they just really want to be a trash collector? It seems absurd to our high-class, educated minds, but is it really? I guess it gets complicated because of the inevitable economic factor. These jobs have a lower pay. Living costs are often higher. Why do they have a lower pay? Do we value them less? I remember the first time I learned about Socialism. I thought it was great. I really do believe heaven is Socialist. Haha. Ideally, everyone would get equal pay, because every job is equally valued… The reason they aren’t now is because of the ‘prerequisites’ for the job. Some jobs require more ‘training’ than others… But if you were made to do that job, you were also made with the capability to be trained for it… The opportunities… I don’t know. I’m confused. Something in the equation isn’t adding up.
Where does education fit in in the area of social justice?
/edit/ I’m having a really difficult time writing this paper. Boo :(