In his article, Finn argues the different styles of literacy education which he says are empowering education and domesticating education. Finn explains empowering education as an education that prepares students to be in positions of power in their future. He explains domesticating education as functional education that prepares students to be productive and dependable. Finn argues that there are significant differences in the quality of education that children of the working class receive as opposed to children of middle and upper class families. Finn supports his argument with a study that was conducted by Jean Anyon. This study gave many example of how teaching students of middle class families differs from teaching students of working class families here in the United States. Many examples were given of the assignments the children of working class families differed from assignments given to students of middle class families. There was a great quote that summed up the education for the children of working class families and that was “their capacity for creativity and planning was ignored or denied.” This quote was referring to the quality of education that the children of working class families were receiving. They were required to work from their text books in many of their subjects requiring no higher-level thinking. In math, they were not allowed to use their own creative ways of finding solutions to equations but were required to find the answer using the method the way the teacher or book showed. The children of middle class families on the other hand were encouraged to use higher-level thinking and their thinking was challenged by their teachers instead of just accepting and answers word for word from a book. The children of middle class families also had access to technology to do projects and research. There is a quote from the reading that sums up Finn’s argument and it is “The more advanced a people’s technology is, the greater the power they have to transform the world. Education, technology, and power are closely related.” He goes on later to say “power is derived from advanced technology and advanced technology relies on literacy.” This quote simply says that the literate are powerful. Thus the middle class are given more power even starting young in school over the working class.
This was an eye awakening article. I didn’t think that this could possibly still occur in the United States. It is true what Delpit says about the powerful being blind to the problem of power and I suppose I myself am guilty of that. Fortunately, I also have the power to change it! The problem is we are not educating our students fair and equally. So what? This needs to change if we want our country to be a fair and equal nation with equal rights for all children. Now what? From here forward I for one will be more conscious of what goes on in the educational field and use my knowledge of the unequal and unjust decisions being made in education to educate those around me in the hopes that spreading the word will make a difference because teachers do have the power to change.