Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An Essay by David

Cycles of Poverty and Success
            Poverty, education, and community are all part of a cyclical pattern.  Poverty
is amplified from a lack of education, and the impoverished typically live in communities with a low standard of expectations.  Because of wide spread academic neglect, these expectations are put on each generation as time moves on. For example, if someone is impoverished because of a bad education, then they won’t have enough money to send their kids to a good school.  Living in a community where no one is well educated, there are no role models to follow, and the pattern continues.
            In “The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore, these ideas are supported by each Wes’ life.  Both the narrator and the “other Wes Moore” led similar lives in their early childhood. Both grew up in similar circumstances, in the same neighborhoods, in fatherless homes, and of course, in a world greatly influenced by drugs.  However, the narrator was only a spectator of the “drug game”.  The “other Wes Moore” was a player in this “game”.  (Moore 73)
            The cyclical pattern of poverty was continued in this way by the “other Wes Moore”, but it was broken by the narrator.  The narrator’s mother played a large part in this.  She sent him to military school which broke the poverty cycle in two ways.  First, this gave him a very good education, second it got him away from a community of drugs and peers with little respect for their own schooling.   The “other Wes Moore” wasn’t so fortunate.  He chose to make his money from illegal activities and to drop out of high school.  (Moore 89)
            In McClennan County there are many opportunities similar to the narrator’s.  Rapoport Academy, for example, is a great combination of a hard working community, excellent education, and little cost.  District superintendent Dr. Nancy Grayson said, “We all have a shared vision, everyone wants to work together for the sense of community,” in an interview with Focus Magazine of Baylor University. These key characteristics are the same as the narrator’s military school with two exceptions, at Rapoport Academy there is no cost to attend.  Also, places like Rapoport Academy provide a positive community only during school hours; whereas the narrator’s military school provided it twenty four hours a day.  Attitudes in one’s community can subtly influence one’s attitude towards education.  It is for this reason that one’s home life must be supportive and positive.  Even with an excellent school, the absence of a role model can cripple one’s ability to appreciate the value of a good education.  Additionally a positive support group made of close friends and family is important in deciding one’s future.  This is also shown throughout the story of the Wes Moores.  On one hand, the narrator’s mother and sisters were very supportive and pushed Wes to do well even when he didn’t want to.  On the other hand, the “other Wes Moore’s” mom smoked weed and his brother sold drugs. (Moore 73)
              Quality educations and supportive communities are helping people move out of poverty in McClennan County.  This is embodied by a sign at Rapoport Academy which says, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!”  Just as a poor education and negative community cultivate a cyclical pattern of poverty, a good education and positive community cultivate a cyclical pattern of success.