There is a delusion within the hegemonic understanding of the American education system. Society postulates that it can liberate marginalized individuals, sustaining a sense of ebullience about the salubrious possibilities. Furthermore, there is deep disrepute towards those who subvert this institution. Vacillating between academia’s potential and its virulent foundation, Dr. Tressie Cottom and Dr. Carla Shedd illuminate these pernicious incongruities.
Dr. Cottom, as well as Dr. Shedd, are renowned scholars who are voraciously advocating for interpolation of education, as it currently subsists as a for-profit institution. As Dr. Cathy Davidson begins the discussion by introducing the elephant in the room: COVID-19. Harnessing the pandemic to probe the intersection of class and race, the panelists unveil the varying nature of injustices. One factor introduced is education for those in grade school, acknowledging that it serves as a day-care and a food distribution service. This is a crucial element when discussing education as it exhibits the absence of assistance beyond the realm of school. When grade schools first closed, there was a panic among working-class families, mainly single moms. Concern about how to feed their children or how to balance work and home-schooling emerged. This example renders the question of education’s purpose, exhibiting its function as a service more than a learning center.
The subject of funding permeated the discussion. Dr. Cottom acknowledged that there is an imbalance in the way that money is distributed for these spaces. This gravely resonated with me, as the women recognize that students are most likely to enlist from college due to financial reasons. Specifically, they note that a student with less than $200 is most likely to drop out. This poignant example reveals the class disparities concomitant with education. As this establishment exists under capitalism, it remains indebted to financial gain. Thus, the ephemeral concept of pulling yourself up from your bootstraps gets lost in the ether. Academia becomes just another vessel to perpetuate the delimitation of class and wealth.
In my opinion, a valiant stride to enhancing education for all may not be attainable under capitalism. An accessible education may only be tangible through a different system, such as socialism or communism. The ruling class who sustain the rigid, deleterious demarcations of college share great solidarity in their interests, being the proliferation of their wealth. The entire system must be deconstructed so that the most marginalized individuals understand things that are a fundamental human right: healthcare, housing, food are just a few examples. So long as these resources are inaccessible, it is unlikely that college will be an option for all.

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