Since I was walking home from school at around 5:30 today, I happened to pass by the Opportunity Center just as it was letting out. The Opportunity center is, for those non-Upper Darby kids out there, the shack given to educate those deemed too dangerous and disruptive to learn in a normal environment.
As I was walking by, about 20 kids came out of this two room building. One seemed like he should still be in middle school, a little blonde boy who had a pretty nasty expression on his face. He looked at me. He looked back at the Opportunity Center. He reached inside his pocket, pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, and started smoking. I glanced inside the actual building, and saw a security guard along with the teacher there.
This was my first experience with the Opportunity Center kids. But it made me think: What kind of incentive do these people have in order to achieve more? The reason I was walking home so late was because of the World Affairs meeting and Acorn work. These kids don’t have a chance to participate in after school curriculars, they’re still in school during that time. Nor do they have any peer role model, they think they’re punks, they’re fine with it, and they probably don’t see or interact with anyone doing well in school.
They aren’t on the path set by society. You know, the path that says, “If you walk me, you’ll be successful!” In short, do well in school, load up on extra curricular activities, make lots of friends, get into college, make lots of friends who’ll become influential, become influential yourself after college, and then make lots of money.
What kind of path is that? I think we’re losing a bit of ourselves every time we’re too stressed out to even talk to those we care about. Yeah, we need to do well in school and college to get a good job, and, consequently, money. Money makes the world go round, and we need it. Or do we? I told Phil a day or two ago, “You need money to live.” He said, “No you don’t, you can just steal food.” I don’t believe in redistribution of wealth, but rather, in redistribution of education quality.
I don’t understand why we have to basically sell ourselves as a commodity, in order to further our own interests.
The kids in the Opportunity Center probably don’t get the same calibur education as kids in the regular school. And maybe students at Harvard get a better education than at Villanova. Why? Because you can afford more? But if you can’t get a good education, you can’t raise enough money to help send your kids to such a prestigious school. It’s a cycle, and, some measly scholarships, which barely ameliorate the need for funds, is keeping people satisfied with the current way of things.