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Further Class Divisions
Classism in Education
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Classism affects all, not just students of color

The problem of classism affecting students from lower socio-economic backgrounds is highlighted in Finn, chapter 1 where there is a study done in several classrooms that range from the very top echelon of income and power to the working class. In all of the schools the children are predominantly white and yet even in this setting the different classes are receiving different educational experiences. In the working class schools the children are told to never leave their seats without permission, they are sarcastically talked down to and are never challenged as the students of the middle and high-class are. In essence they are being bred for the same type of life that their parents are living now. They are being taught how to follow orders, and do mechanical and low-paying work. The middle class children are being taught at a level just higher than their working-class counter parts. They are being taught that through hard work they will achieve some of the finer points of middle-class life. In stark contrast to the working and middle-class the upper middle class learns to actually think and not to just be regurgitators of information. They learn to create art and to value work for work itself. And at a level just above them the children of the elite class learn “to become masters of the universe”.

 

 

 

Diversity in curriculum is crucial to ones self image

 

Traditionally, most curriculum have the primary focus of the historical and cultural perspectives of the White, Anglo-American, and have completely excluded any perspectives that have been considered multicultural. According to James Banks,

 

"When attempting to learn academic tasks, European American students may not have the addistional burden of working accross irrelevant instrutional materials and methods. More of teir energies and efforts can be directed towards mastering the substance of teaching." (Banks, 2005)

 

Although opinions vary, there is no doubt among Educators and Researchers that this exclusion considerably damages the educational development and the self image of children of color. Quite naturally, children of European descent that see themselves depicted in every positive light, with every image that likens their culture with progressivism, a sense of self-superiority is more likely to develop. According to Enid Lee,

"Often times, whatever is white is treated as normal. So when teachers choose literature that they say will deal with the universal theme or story, like childhood, all the people in the stories are of European origin; it’s basically white culture and civilization. That culture is different from others, but it doesn’t get named as different. It gets named as normal." (Lee, 1994)

This marginalization occurs at a very early stage of life of the children of color. Children at this stage tend to accept what is taught "as the way things are", as apposed to thinking critically, to question the validity of the content. In essence, messages of supposed superiority and inferiority are made out to be partially accepted.