Expectations Essay

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Expectations Many scholars study the history of education in the United States, but it is Maya Angelou and Mike Rose, with their personal narratives found in 75 Readings across the curriculum, describe the injustice and failure of the system. Maya Angelou’s “Graduation” (199) examines the education system’s racial discrimination and Angelou’s personal growth. On the other hand, Mike Rose’s “I Just Wanna Be Average” (211) sheds light on troubled youth “all kinds of kids from all kinds of backgrounds” (222), and how these kids are not expected to succeed. These two essays point to a broken education system and expose human nature, both at its highest and lowest points. However, it also shows their resilience and strength in overcoming adversity. Discrimination is present in both essays; Maya Angelou’s essay reveals a clear illustration of the luxuries the white schools in the forties had; this is apparent during the speech of a “Mr. Edward Donleavy” (206) given to the 1940’s graduating class of the Lafayette County Training School. He mentions how the Central School (this being the “white school”), “had already been granted improvements,” they were to receive new equipment for the laboratory, a “well-known artist to teach art to them” (207), but that they (the students at Lafayette County Training School) were not to be ignored in the “general betterment scheme he had in mind” (207). Angelou mentions in her essay that her school consisted of two buildings that “were set on a dirt hill,” “neither lawn, nor hedges, nor tennis court, nor climbing ivy” (200), thus, the injustice of the system is shown. Rose’s essay also reveals this difference: “You’ll 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.” The

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