The facts in “Graduation” support Angelou’s conclusion thatthere exists a dual educational system in the USA. One system fostersmediocrity in blacks and other marginalized minorities. The otherpromotes excellence in white kids and encourages them to become allthey are capable of becoming. Angelou is able to mark out the dualeducational system for blacks and whites by contrasting the types ofschools blacks attend to those attended by whites and the type ofeducation offered.
From the onset of “Graduation,” the author makes it clear that“unlike the white high school, Lafayette County Training Schooldistinguished itself by having neither lawn, nor hedges, nor tenniscourt, nor climbing ivy (Angelou 124).” The statement makes itclear that the learning environment for black students differs fromthat of whites. The former appears to lack things, which are presentin the latter. The learning environment influences learning amongstudents. By having a different learning environment, black studentsare unable to learn the same skills as white students.
As Angelou speaks of the graduating black class, she is concernedthat just a few would further their education to college. However,she seems concerned that even those who continue to college wouldattend “one of the South’s A&M (agricultural and mechanical)schools, which trained Negro youths to be carpenters, farmers,handymen, masons, maids, cooks and baby nurses (Angelou 125).” Thisimplies that black students are limited in the kind of careers theycan pursue after graduating from high school. This is because theeducation system has already selected the courses they will continuewith in college.
During the graduation ceremony, Angelou refers to a white manaddressing people. The man’s speech makes it clear that theeducation system for blacks differs from that of whites. While thereare continuous improvements made to white schools, to ensure they arein a better position to pursue their career aspirations, blacks areconfined by their Negro status. “We were maids and farmers,handymen and washerwomen, and anything higher that we aspired wasfarcical and presumptuous (Angelou 131).” Black children have beenmade to believe that they cannot be anything better. For instance,one cannot be a scientist, all because the education offered to themdoes not support any student’s aspirations of becoming a scientist.
The facts in “I Just Wanna Be Average” by Mike Rose support thepresence of a dual education system in the USA. In the narrative,Rose narrates how he was wrongly placed in a vocational program inhigh school. He concludes that such an education system, whichseparates students into normal classes and vocational programs,encourages students in the latter to aim at only an averagelifestyle. For instance, when the teacher asks one of his classmatesto give his opinion on parable talents, he responds by saying “Ijust wanna be average (Rose 3).” This is because the vocationalsystem imparts students with average skills that only make thempursue average jobs.
In addition, Richard Rodriguez’s “Aria” supports Angelou’sconclusion. Rodriquez questions America’s education system bynoting that it isolated immigrants linguistically, which limits theirearning potential. This is because of the bilingual education systemthat seems to limit students in their ability to write, speak orunderstand English. The system “is a program that seeks to permitnon-English speaking children to use their family language as thelanguage of school (Rodriguez 571).” As such, non-native Englishspeakers when compared to native speakers are unable to benefit fromthe US education system, which limits their academic and latersuccess in life.
Angelou, Maya. Graduation, (1928): 124-134.http://www.eacfaculty.org/pchidester/101%20files/Graduation.pdf
Rodriguez, Richard. Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood,(1981): 570-581.https://d3jc3ahdjad7x7.cloudfront.net/7qIeGY5uAREas8f4IJ63Kt6KGfCKpJoKFNFwG9WTV6DmoAOQ.pdf
Rose, Mike. I Just Wanna be Average, (1989): 1-7.http://userwww.sfsu.edu/mmartin/rose.pdf