Monday, November 1, 2010

Persistence Makes Education Possible

I went to Dr. Pedro Noguera’s speech tonight where he spoke about how social justice plays a role in education. Though it was clear from hearing about his childhood, he was lucky not to have faced many of the hardships that he began to talk about, his message was still very clear: poverty manifests into people’s lives and make it extremely difficult for a proper education. Noguera made a point to say that a child’s upbringing deeply affects how much education someone is to receive. For example, for a high school graduate coming from an affluent family, university is an option. But, if both parents did not finish high school and are of low economic status, their children are less likely to continue education.

Education is a key concept that many of us take for granted. There are so many people out there that do not have the opportunities that we have, and I can honestly say that I have recognized this and I know I’m blessed. Noguera mentions that we have to take this topic very personally and seriously; comparing it to a civil rights issue. I have witnessed first hand the importance of education when I went on a service trip to Costa Rica in 2008. I taught kids how to read in Spanish and simple English words as well. No one can take away the smiles these kids had on their faces once they realized they were learning, that they were being educated, especially since many of their parents did not have the same opportunities.

Realistically, though, Noguera knows that education can be extremely difficult. He urged those who are compassionate to reach out and do more, because essentially (to quote that terrible Disney movie) “we’re all in this together.” Though it may take a lot of time and effort, it will be worth it. If we could just help a few people, it still makes a significant difference. We must try; our efforts will not be in vain.

The persistence with education that Dr. Noguera urges us to have paralleled, to me, the persistence that Kahu had for Koro Apirana’s love and attention. Constant attention, effort, and works must be applied in order to make a difference. Although it did take some time, eventually all of Kahu’s hard work paid off, just like our efforts for education will. Success in education will only be achieved with dedication and hard work, both which are possible, if only we try hard enough, as Kahu did.

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