Is Class a major issue in the educational setting? If so, does it affect the education that young people receive? Donna Gaines and bell hooks both feel that Class is a major issue and that in someway it affects the education that young people receive.
Donna Gaines argues that students are being routed into vocational schools because of their low test scores and behavior problems. The low test scores and behavior problems stem from the fact that they are from a working class background. These kids then end up in low paying jobs with no hope for anything better. The training that they receive in vocational school is "barely enough to get their foot in the door, the skills are obsolete and superficial and the boss prefers people with more training, more experience, more promise (250)". .
Gaines is saying that the education process is biased toward students that have rich or well-connected parents. These are the students that educators focus their efforts and resources on. The other students can work hard and try to make something of themselves - by themselves, work at low paying jobs, or take risks (248). The choice is theirs.
Gaines offers several examples. Cliff studied graphic arts and printing, but worked in a deli. His parents died before he was twenty-one. He wanted to open a deli of his own, but didn"t have the needed chunk of cash. He had also wanted to go in on a limo partnership, but again he didn"t have the cash. So he works at Metal 24, a hamburger joint, setting up designs for future tattoos in his spare time. He dreams of being a bass player, but is stuck in a low-paying job with little or no hope of going anywhere (248). Eddie studied food preparation, because that was where all the pretty girls hung out. He ended up with a job baking donuts, then making sandwiches at a deli. He couldn"t support himself on five dollars an hour, so he started moonlighting in the underground youth economy which landed him in prison.