"School Classes that aren't the Classroom".

Essay by thelittlepigletHigh School, 11th gradeA+, August 2003

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School Classes that aren't the Classroom

Being an ignorant all-way Private school girl, I thought Schools were the key to

everything, that is, the way to "upward mobility" for low-income children. Students

who were "smart" and worked hard could improve their situation and become

doctors, lawyers, and CEOs. Everyone's heard some story about the poor boy

studying and working non-stop as he supports his sick mother in the Bronx or

rural Russia, who then moves up in status through schooling and reaches a

happy ending... but that doesn't happen.

What the sociology of education has shown is that the Australian school system

divides society on the basis of income and wealth. The poorest students drop out

first and the wealthiest last - not because the poorer students are stupid, but

because the school system discriminates against them. In other words, the

school system does the opposite of what it says it does.

It creates a 'class

system', where society accepts this field of massive social inequality.

Low-income students give up school at more than twice the rate of other

students. Maybe they can't find the money for books and field trips. Perhaps they

have been reduced to silence because the school and its curriculum do not suit

their life and future. Have their self-esteem been so crushed by failure that they

simply refuse to go to school? Some children have been so badly traumatised by

the system that their mentality cease to function only at the schoolroom.

Unfortunately, students take the blame for their own failure, and the school

system blames them as well. They're told that they are stupid, or that they're slow

learners - but such culturally-biased assessments only show that the school does

not know these children. Students learn to feel stupid in school, and they accept...