My father never graduated from college. He went to bible college for two years and then got married to my mother. My mother was a college drop out also until recently. After getting married and having my brother she decided to be a full time mother while my father was a police man. My mother went back to school 8 years ago and received her bachelors and two master degrees. I am so proud of her for making her own path.
During my first five years of life, I lived the middle class life. I was told that I had everything I ever wanted (at five ha). It all changed when my family moved my family to Jamaica to be missionaries. This move affected my entire view of the class system. My parents got bumped down to working class by "American Standards" but we remained middle class by Jamaican standards. Life was not easy in Jamaica. We couldn’t afford all the luxuries we had back in the states.
As my memories begins to fade from my five-year mission work back in Jamaica, the ideals of serving my community never seemed to diminish. That experience changed my whole perspective of class.
When we moved back to America, my family status went from middle class Jamaicans down back down to working class Americans . All of a sudden it was hard to do the simple things we could in Jamaica.
My parents have always instilled the importance of a good education at a young age. They wanted their children to have everything they needed and wanted from life. They believed education was the way to go.
My siblings soon formed our own small class system ( based of education) while attending the Ohio school system.
My brother got a partial scholarship at a great prep school in the area. He later went to Yale undergrad and attended Harvard Law School soon after. I have always wondered what life would be like in that system. Like the rebel that I am, I turned down my prep school opportunities/scholarships to attend a suburban school in the area. I told myself that didn't want to go to school with "rich kids", but really I was scared that I wouldn't fit in.
My and my little sister attended a charter schools in elementary and moved on to our local suburban school.
My older sister attended a public middle school and had a hard time recovering once entering our suburban high school.
...just like that my family had a system divided by education.
Don't get me wrong, my sister isn't destined to be in working class due to the lack of prep school or Ivy League resume, but I do believe that her journey had a lot to do with her public education.
From the prep school turned ivy league, to the public school turned state university my family had it all. I fell right in the middle and attended the "Public Ivy" Miami University. I had no problems adjusting to the "Miami" life. While I was surrounded by upper and upper middle class , I found a way to find my voice. As a recent college graduate and Americorp volunteer, I wonder what class I will soon fall into.
I feel comfortable in both worlds. I seem to be this weird mixture with my working class background, my middle class dreams and my middle/upper class education. No matter what I decide I know I will be working to improve my community. I refuse to move upward and fail to bring others with me.
While I feel like my future class is in the process of being shaped today. I wonder what I will choose, and what will be chosen for me.
I found it interesting that the book Limbo used education as the main focus for moving up in the American class system, yet nationwide our public school system is in a terrible state. I know Limbo recognized other factors of advancing, I just felt like it was important to highlight education as a tangible hindrance for feeling trapped int he working class.If great education system was available and accessible to all, then maybe the "american dream" could be more attainable FOR ALL RATHER THEN SOME.
Many claim they want the "american dream", but many believe that dream no longer exist in this CLOSED class system. I believe that education is the best way for achieving that dream.