During summers spent in New England, I learned that crabs are remarkably like humans. When a bucket of caught crabs is left unattended, one will try to make a heroic escape to avoid ending up as someone’s dinner. Yet as this one crab attempts its escape, several of its fellow crabs will latch onto it and pull it back into the bucket as if they were saying, “If we’re going down, you’re going down with us.”
Like crabs, humans stuck in bad situations with little or no hope often try to drag down those who seem like they are about to break away.
Dragging down those who have the best chance of succeeding creates a culture of failure. One where failure is the norm and where those who try to succeed are pulled down through this culture and the attitudes of their peers. The most sickening part of this culture is that it exists where success is needed the most 8212; in inner-city schools.
Education is key and in the areas most stricken by poverty, crime and decay there is a real need for a quality education, which would allow those stuck in these areas to break free and return to both serve as an example to the community and to help restore it. Yet the inner-city school problem seems to be a predicament that keeps those born into a bad situation stuck in that situation with little hope of escaping it.
Those who seem poised to do well and break away are often dragged back down through the pressures of that area’s culture of failure, whether it is through crime, drugs or gang violence. In these schools, failure has become acceptable where substandard students are passed on by substandard teachers so the students are no longer a burden. This culture of failure becomes a discomfort on that area and school system where nobody is expected to make anything of themselves.
In the United States, this is simply not acceptable. The inner-city school problem must be tackled so as to ensure a better future for the less fortunate of our population. The best way to do this is to change the culture of failure.
Changing this culture of failure will go much further in addressing the substandard inner-city schools than any amount of money or new teaching system could. But changing a culture requires an entire community to change it and help those who are in need of this change. A partnership of all levels, from government bureaucrats to those in the community themselves, is needed to reform and change this culture into a culture that encourages success in school as real progress and a way to better oneself.
This new culture would bring in accountability, real expectations and challenge students to work hard to better themselves and improve their lot in life, all huge components of the American spirit. No single community can change a culture by itself. It requires help from all of us, from smart and efficient government programs designed to help public education in those areas needed, to teachers who are held accountable for the jobs they perform, to students and to those of us just trying to better those who are less fortunate.
A better education and a better life are possible for those in the inner-city, but it requires all of us to help change a culture. Doing so would infinitely help America’s future.
Jordan Rubio is a freshman broadcast journalism major from San Antonio.