The following is part two of a three part conversation we had regarding the American School System and Poverty and what correlations we saw between the two. Obviously this is a touchy subject, but we welcome your input.
Adam: Isn't there a pattern... I mean the statistics show that if you are in the lower class you are less likely to graduate... meaning you are more likely to end up in the lower class ... its this vicious cycle we are creating of the poor getting poorer.
Jeremy: Negative. The poor people choose to be poor (for the most part. we are not talking about the .5% that don’t have any other options). It’s their fault they are in the "cycle" the good thing about our society is that it gives anyone who wants it, the opportunity to change the direction their lives are headed.
Adam: Do you believe that to be true because of statistical evidence or do you base that on anecdotal evidence from your life, your friend’s lives, and the lives of those on TV?
Jeremy: I base 95% of what I believe on the "Anecdotal evidence from my life and my friend’s lives". Everything else is not a completely trustworthy source.
Adam: Do you think that your views could be subjective and bias because of that?
Adam: That's fair, but do you think people who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods may feel differently?
Jeremy: Yes, but that doesn’t make them right. It’s easy to sit around in a "disadvantaged neighborhood" and have a pity party, but a lot harder to fight the odds and make something of yourself. I’m not saying it’s not harder for those people, but they don’t accept the blame for themselves and try to change it from there.
Adam: Hmmm. I don't feel you are being open-minded about this particular topic... I mean have you ever been in a school that is ranked last in the state in regards to standards and graduation rates... have you ever been in a school where you have to go through a metal detector before you can enter... where the doors are locked during the day to keep out drug dealers... where drug dogs search the school at least once a week... Have you ever been so poor you can't eat? Ever been so poor you didn't have proper clothing... let along fashionable clothing... ever been so poor you have to live next door to a crack house... have you ever seen someone arrested for drug possession... have you ever reported a domestic abuse to the police?
Jeremy: Nice try. I can answer yes to a majority of those questions. South Carolina is probably still last in the nation as far as education is concerned, so I have personally experienced how crappy the schools are. I have even worked at one where the kids have either dropped out or been kicked out of every other learning institute they have been in. I didn’t personally interact with those kids, but their teachers were good friends of mine.
The point I’m trying to make: I could answer yes to all of those questions if I choose to. But I made a decision not to be a bum and sell drugs. I could still do that if I wanted, but I doubt I will.