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Mackenzie Kindel

VanderMey
English 111
14 December 2015
Encouragement For All, Or For None!
If you want to be successful and have a good job with a great future ahead of
you, then you have to go to college! this is something (or really close to) that I heard on
a weekly, if not daily, basis while I was going through school. I would hear these words
or words like this from teachers, parents/family, friends, other peers, and I would even
hear it from the media quite often. Everyone, with all the encouragement and words
about it, made it seem like college was my only option. But also throughout my
childhood and growing up, I took notice that not everyone got the same amount or type
of encouragement as myself. So why is that the case? Why are some students
encouraged to go to college and better their lives, while other students arent being
given the same encouragement? I believe the unequal college encouragement and
discussion is not fair to all students. Throughout this essay Im going to discuss the
encouragement to college and how it makes students feel, I am also going to talk about
why not all students are equally encouraged, and I will briefly touch on if the lack of
encouragement is because everyone thinks there is another route for some people.
Now, thinking with this question in mind, Why are some students encouraged to
attend college and become successful, while other students arent being given the same
attention?. Could the answer be potential? I have come to realize that the only
students who are really being encouraged to attend a college or a university are the

students with great potential, (the scholarly students, the students with the top GPA,
the hard workers, the good testers, etc.) or whatever you choose to call them. This
group is the students who are actually encouraged. All or almost all students may be
encouraged slightly to attend college, but thats only because there isnt really another
choice. A teacher couldnt just kick out half of the classroom before giving a lecture on
the subject attending college, therefore those non encouraged students would get
some encouragement as well. It's just that the teacher wouldnt go out of their way to
give this attention to some students while they would climb mountains for other
students. High school students should be told to attend college, but it doesnt always
work out that way. High school counselors have been mandated by the state that they
have to tell students to go to college even if they do not want to or are not meant to go
(Shanbrom). Shanbrom states that even if the schools staff believes the student shall
not go to college, they must still tell them to go because it is the state law. Not everyone
follows the law, sadly, so not all students are being told to go to college.
This issue, of college encouragement, is academically problematic. It is a
problem because it isnt giving all students the equal hopes at a chance of furthering
their education. This could really affect students way of learning, or thinking in general.
It could affect it in a way where the students who are being encouraged to attend
college might try harder in school, thinking that if they really do try hard and go to
college they will automatically be successful. Students who are successful will continue
to thrive, while slacking students will continue to retreat. "The separation of students has
increased the achievement (and thus opportunity) gap: students in the honors track
continue to make gains while the students in the standard track either stay level or

decline (Walsh). The poorly encouraged students will stay down in school, while the
richly encouraged students will rise in their courses. It could also affect in a way where
the students who are being encouraged less might not put in much effort at school,
thinking why should I try now they dont think I could get anywhere in life anyway. Those
less encouraged students might think it's too late for them to put in the hard work and go
to college, they believe that theyre going to be unsuccessful in their future because
they feel that they wont make it in college. In Walshs article she talks about how the
labels on students affect them. Without the label of honors or non-honors everyone has
more of a level playing field. It might make students want to try a little harder or see that
their peers are doing well and maybe their peers can help them if they are struggling.
There would be more of a supportive community in terms of helping each other out a
little bit (Walsh). If students didnt know who is and isnt being encouraged with college,
they would all feel equally successful.
My high school was a type of school that always signed you up for the regular
classes and if you feel like you are able to attend higher classes, then you test out of the
class assigned to you. Every student was placed into the system as an equal, and if you
wanted something changed you had to go in and change it for yourself. In most high
schools students are given tests at the beginning of the year to see where they stand in
certain subjects. If a student is excelling in math but isnt doing too well in English, then
the student would be placed in an advanced math class and a regular or beginners
English. Entrance to school brings with it forms and releases and assessments. Mercy
relied on a series of tests, mostly the Stanford-Binet, for placement for I was placed in
the vocational track, a euphemism for the bottom level. Neither I nor my parents knew

what this meant. We had no sense that Business Math, Typing, and English-Level D
were dead ends (Rose, 304). In Roses school he had taken the test and done well, but
his test and someone elses got mixed up so he was placed in lower classes, ergo the
vocational track. The vocational track can be related to the non-encouraged students;
they both are known as the less academically successful students and neither are
helped all that well towards their future.
Maybe the reasoning behind why students arent being encouraged fully isnt
because they dont have the potential, but be because the teachers arent fully sure of
how to do their job correctly. I have had a few courses in school where the teacher was
relatively new and didnt know how to properly teach her students. She made it difficult
to actually learn anything in that class, because she didnt even know what she was
teaching. He had little training in English, so his lesson plan for his day's work had us
reading the districts required text, Julius Caesar, aloud for the semester. Wed finish
before the twenty weeks was up, so hed have us switch parts again and again and start
again (Rose, 305). Roses instructor didnt have the proper training for that subject,
therefore he didnt know what to teach. His teacher made them do the same thing on
repeat until the semester was at an end. Even background, ethnicity, and race can take
part in students not being as encouraged as others. If a students parents arent too
great of people, and the society knows it, then teachers will believe that the child will be
just like the parents with no potential. Throughout the course of many years, black and
Hispanic people have been known as a less successful academic student. This isnt the
case any longer, considering I know a large number of people from other races that are
very intelligent. The vocational track at Our Lady of Mercy mixed kids traveling from

South L.A. with South Bay surfers and a few Slavs and Chicanos from the harbors of
San Pedro. surfers and hodads and South Central blacks (Rose, 305). The
vocational track that Rose was placed in was all students of other races. There wasnt
anything that talked about the average white student being placed in this vocational
track. Therefore, I think that students not being encouraged has more to it than just
dumb students and teachers who arent well known with their jobs yet. Rose explains to
his readers that only the top students with excel past others in the highest level courses.
While you as a less encouraged (vocational track) student has to stay behind in courses
and figure out how they will be successful in their future.
Youll see a handful of students far excel you in courses that sound exotic
and that are only in the curriculum of the elite: French, physics,
trigonometry. And all this is happening while youre trying to shape an
identity, your body is changing, and all your emotions are running wild. If
youre a working-class kid in the vocational track, the options youll have
to deal with this will be constrained in certain ways: Youre defined as
slow; youre placed in a curriculum that isnt designed to liberate you but
to occupy you, or, if youre lucky, train you, though training is for work the
society does not esteem; other students are picking up the cues from
your school and your curriculum and interacting with you in particular
ways.
Roses, I Just Wanna Be Average really helps to explain my view on the topic of
encouragement and non-encouragement.

If not all students are being encouraged, or encouraged equally, at school by


teachers; it makes you wonder why this is. Could the teachers be setting them up for a
different route, one that they think will be better for each individual student? Or do the
teachers just not even genuinely care about all of the students, so they only give this
necessary attention to the students they think will go through college successfully. If the
teachers do care, and are setting up students for another path; what would the path be?
Could the path be to find the student a well-paying job that doesnt need a college
degree? Teachers might not give the same attention to all students because they dont
want to set anyone up for failure. If a student isnt doing well in high school classes,
then its a good idea that they arent being pushed towards college especially because
college classes are twice as hard. In Mike Roses, I Just Wanna Be Normal he talks
about how the vocational course affected students.
Vocational education has aimed at increasing the economic opportunities
of some students who do not do well in our schools. Some serious
programs succeed in doing that The vocational track, however, is most
often a place for those who are just not making it, a dumping ground for
the disaffected. There were a few teachers who worked hard at
education But mostly the teachers had no idea of how to engage the
imaginations of us kids who were scuttling along the bottom of the pond.
But Rose says how the vocational route is just a place for the school to dump the
academically lower students. If the school is putting the lower students in the vocational
path, then they are almost certain that the student wont succeed. If the teachers dont
care and arent giving equal attention to all students, then they believe not all students

will make it. They wouldnt want to send any student to their educational death, so the
teachers only want to put time and effort into the students that they know will make it in
college.
In conclusion, not all students are given the same attention of encouragement to
college. All students should be encouraged, because its only fair. But not all students
should believe they will automatically be unsuccessful without furthering their education
to a college degree. Whether or not a student is being encouraged to go to a college or
a university; they can still be successful. It will be more difficult for a student to push
through without the help, but if a student truly believes in themselves he/she can
succeed. Becoming successful is easy with or without encouragement, you just need to
put in hard work and time.

Works Cited
Shanbrom, James. Intellectual elitism fails our students. Smart Voter. League Of
Women, 14 October 2003. Web. 4 November 2003.
Walsh, Molly. High school honors classes: Elitist or not?. Burlington Free Press. 11
January 2014.
Rose, Mike. I Just Wanna Be Average. Exploring Relationships. 2013. 304-307.
Boston: Pearson Education Company. Print.