Opportunity

November 17, 2008

Mike Rose has written a thought-provoking, post-election post on opportunity, the limitations of pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps mentalities, and education.   He writes:

The creation of opportunity involves a good deal of thoughtful work on
the part of the provider, and, as well, demands significant effort on
the part of the recipient. The creating of social programs,
compensatory interventions, and the like are not, as some conservative
writers claim, a giveaway, a soft entry into the meritocracy. If done
well, the creation of opportunity in education (and this applies to
other domains as well) also requires great effort, even courage. What
that special program or compensatory intervention assures is that one’s
effort is not just sound and fury, but is directed and assisted toward
achievement.

and this:

…it does not diminish the importance of individual commitment and effort
to also acknowledge the tremendous role played in achievement by the
kind, distribution, and accessibility of institutions, programs, and
other resources. And these resources, as everybody knows, are not
equally available. Particularly now.

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