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Lecture sheds light on inequality in American school system

CW File

Thomas Ingle

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As the time of the lecture started to near, 100 plus attendee’s filed into the Woodis-McDonald Auditorium on Thursday night. Gathering for the Julie C. Laible Memorial Lecture Series on anti-racist scholarship, education, and social activism, those in attendance came to hear of Annette Lareau’s findings on how class and race can affect the easiness of schooling throughout a person’s life. 

“Whether its [a philosopher], a research methodologist, or sociologist, [Lareau] speaks to a lot of different people,” said John Petrovic, professor in the College of Education and lecture coordinator. 

Students were eager to hear what Lareau, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, found in her study. 

Throughout the lecture many topics were discussed. The main three were what students know, who they know, and how they navigate institutions. 

Lareau first explained how more working-class families won’t have much knowledge about how to jump certain hurdles, such as going to an advisor.

Part two showed that middle class children had an advantage because of larger networks they are involved in. This could be from family friends, to just being exposed or participating in more extracurricular activities. 

The final part revealed that cumulative advantages are the byproduct of individually insignificant experiences, showing that in America schooling is not equal for everybody.

After the lecture was over the students went from focused to inquisitive, asking questions and engaging with the speaker. 

“I like what she spoke about, how she differentiated, not making it much of a race thing and more actually about class,” said Trenton Brasfield, a junior public relations major. 

The lecture left many students with a different understanding on the effect of class in academia.

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Lecture sheds light on inequality in American school system