Hannah R. KnutsonMs. Salinas AP Lang. and Comp.9 January 2018 The Definition of Education Education is a word often used by numerous people of various backgrounds. It can mean a number of things to different people.
Education is something a person must want to obtain and use, and it does not simply fall into one’s lap. Education can be learned at the most prestigious schools in the country, or simply in reading the classics before one goes to bed. Education discriminates against no person of any specific group or characteristic and can benefit every person who desires to educate themselves. Education is the acquisition of knowledge that creates a foundation to help the individual to be successful. When a young middle-class or upper-class child is growing up, they are taught the rights and wrongs of how a person should act. If not, they have access to learn these morals through education at school.
But what about those caught in the poorer classes? Or those who have parents who are convicts, or parents who can’t aid them in this education because they are too ill? Earl Shorris, a contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine and both founder and chairman of the Advisory Board for the Clemente Course in the Humanities, upon writing his article for Harper’s, “Education as a Weapon in the Hands of the Restless Poor”, he interviewed a woman named Viniece Walker in the Bedford Hills Prison. He asked her “Why do you think people are poor?” and she responded by saying that “You got to begin with the children.” “You’ve got to teach the moral life of downtown.
” When hearing this he understood that she did not literally mean downtown but that people must be educated about the humanities. (Shorris 1997). These people are often exposed to extreme tramas: hunger, isolation, police, abuse, drugs, criminals, and racism, which keep them out of society and prohibit interaction with different communities of people of all different standings.
This is the reason the poor stay poor. (Shorris 1997). Earl Shorris wanted to show how giving these poor oppressed people an education would help them to become more successful and how it would truly benefit them. So, he created an experiment known as the “Clemente Course” where candidates selected by Nancy Mamis-King who is associate executive director of the Neighborhood Youth & Family Services, who were of very low income, and close to poverty or already living in it would receive an education in “Moral Philosophy” and the humanities for one year taught by professors who excelled in their area of knowledge completely volunteering to teach these people. The reading and thoughts these people would have to do would be about the same idea of what would go on at a first year of Harvard or Yale. As the experiment progressed he saw that that all the student that started off as not participating or quiet would engage and interact. A certain student named David Howell called Shorris at home and talked about his day at work and how he encountered a problem. David was known to be quick tempered and had a history of violent behavior, so as Shorris sat listening he was concerned.
However, he was shocked to hear that when Davis said he was arguing with a woman who made him quite mad, he stopped to think “What would Socrates do?”. This is turn helped him to reason that “his coworkers envy was not his problem after all, and dropped his rage.”(Shorris 1997). This show that when the young man David was receiving an education, that education gave him the tools to help him in everyday life that created a foundation for his success, which in his case was reasoning that the woman’s envy was not his problem. At the end of this program, out of the twenty-eight students who had been enrolled in the course, fourteen graduated and sixteen had completed the course.
A year after graduation ten out of the sixteen were attending a four year college (Shorris). Once these poor people were given an education, they were given the tools that could help them succeed. These humanities and morals they were taught through an education gave laid the foundation for a successful future.
They succeeded in graduating their course, some by going on to four year colleges and nursing schools, and others working full time or going to community colleges. Education was not kept from these people. Once they decided that they did want to learn these how things worked and why to think this way in a situation, they were able to be more successful than they previously were. Education can be used by any person. Shorris shows this through his education experiment of the poor. Another person who agrees with education being a tool that can be acquired by anyone in hopes of being successful is Henry David Thoreau.
As much as he makes the point of how education is being literate and well versed in the classics, he also argues just as much that anyone can be educated.