There are many opinions on the importance of college education and how it should be communicated to high school students. In his article “The Danger of Telling Poor Kids That College Is the Key to Social Mobility”, Andrew Simmons discusses how certain widespread notions harm young people and facilitate inequality. His writing encourages the reader to acknowledge the real reasons why children should pursue academic careers.
The author has a diverse background in education both as a student and as a teacher. In the last two years of high school, he attended a private school where children took money for granted and were able to dream of things beyond materialistic comfort (Simmons para. 7). However, as a teacher, he works with “black and Latino kids” from less privileged backgrounds who aspire to earn money to provide for their families and enjoy a better life than they have now (Simmons para. 4-6). By drawing on these contrasting experiences, he is able to make some conclusions about the current educational systems and the ideas they promote.
Many educators emphasize that college can be a path to financial stability for many children of poorer backgrounds. Simmons denounce that such notions are communicated to children as the main reasons to pursue higher education (Simmons para. 4). He believes that students should be encouraged to see colleges as places where they can achieve “intellectual awakening” by exploring fields and topics they are interested in (Simmons para. 11). As an argument, he contrasts the materialistic expectations of many students of poorer backgrounds with dreams and aspirations of those who don’t have to worry about money (Simmons para. 7). Simmons believes that if everything remains the way it is, it can lead only to the strengthening of the existing inequality (Simmons para. 11). His arguments are particularly convincing since they are based on his personal experiences and experiences of his students.
By drawing on these examples, the article encourages the reader to compare different approaches to higher education and recognize how some children are denied the opportunity to see college as anything but a way to earn more money in the future. Simmon’s writing is particularly important for educators who are responsible for motivating children to continue their studies. He believes that the main message should lie in promoting not materialistic but intellectual pursuits.
Simmons, Andrew. “The Danger of Telling Poor Kids That College Is the Key to Social Mobility.” The Atlantic, 2014, Web.