Education and Empowerment Essay

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Education and Empowerment

Since it became a country, the United States has made it a priority to educate its citizens in order to allow them to progress. The reason for this is that there is an established connection between education level and the potential for social mobility of Americans, a statistic which has been verified in other countries as well. In the United States, there is a concept of the American Dream which says that anyone who is willing to work hard can become socially mobile. This is an unspoken promise given to the citizens by the founding fathers of the nation. According to this dream, even people born in the poorest communities can, through a strong worth ethic, skill, and dedication to their own bettering, will be able to become millionaires. The thing that allows for people to move along the ranks of the social ladder is education and the opportunities that education presents.

Even from the earliest days of the country's founding, people have tried to support the quest for a greater education in others. Scientists interested in sociology and child psychology have found that the more educated a person is, the better their chances at life. According to Horace Mann, "Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, - the balance wheel of the social machinery" (Colombo 110). More than perhaps any other country, the United States supports the education of its citizens, going so far as to make laws which require children to attend school and receive at least a beginning education. Young people who receive an adequate education will be more likely to get a good job and to pay taxes back into the government, thereby continuing the cycle for future generations.

In the United States, the system of education is failing a great number of its students in the promise made to them by the founding fathers. It is an inescapable and unfortunate truth that there are some school districts which are far more well off financially and can supply their students with an abundance of technology and materials. There are other districts where there are barely enough books to go buy and a budget so tight that there are more than thirty students to a classroom. More and more society is stratifying students so that those who are born into advantageous and wealthier communities have a better chance of becoming successful adults and those that do not find themselves relegated to the margins of their communities. According to Michael Moore, "There are forty-four million Americans who cannot read and write above a fourth-grade level -- in other words, who are functional illiterates…I've also read that only 11% of the American public bothers to read a daily newspaper, beyond the funny pages or the used car ads" (Colombo 116). This is a frightening statistic because it means that even if people complete their education, they are…

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Works Cited

Colombo, Gary, Robert Cullen, and Bonnie Lisle. "Chapter 2: Learning Power: The Myth of Education and Empowerment." Rereading America: Cultural Contexts for Critical Thinking and Writing. 8th Ed. Boston: Bedford of St. Martin's, 2010. 109-238. Print.

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