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Power to the Proletariat

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Imagine a world where you can not eat your favorite food-whether it be a specific bag of chips or a homemade meal- can you even deal with the idea of not being able to smell that smell or taste that taste ever again?

 

Exactly, you can’t.

 

The reason you can’t is because American society has been set up by the jobs of working class people who tend to our food, sales and everything else we forget is so accessible because of them. Without the people working within our communities we would be without the items we eat everyday, like those flamin’ hot cheetos tainting all of them children with red fingers.

 

Over 60 percent of the United States is made up of the working class- people who work manual labor type jobs, or blue-collar jobs.

 

These jobs are usually life-long ones that intend to have a person working up until their breaking point when they can finally retire. The average age a person is able to retire are between the ages 62 to 66 years old, depending on where a person lives.

 

Schools, especially high schools, discourage these jobs. Working class jobs are given a negative stigma by high schools because adults constantly say that students have more “potential”.

 

Angela LeBlanc, MVHS English and Creative Writing teacher, comments on the negative stigma on working class jobs with examples of career options not many people know about.

“If they [working careers] are mentioned, students are somewhat shamed away from them,” LeBlanc says. “There are so many certificate careers available like the police academy, LVN programs, plumbing and electrician programs, welding certifications, construction technology and building inspection…I could go on. Many of these certificates can be earned in one to two years and are great beginning or life career choices.  Some of these are great places to start and make money to help you decide what else is available for the future.  Many of our students have working parents and often have to get jobs to help support the family.”

 

LeBlanc brings up the fact that not everyone can afford higher education due to financial struggles with families. “That [stuck at home working to help their parents] is a sad place for our kids who live humble, hard-working lives, but are shamed or embarrassed because they can’t just go off to U C Merced…” LeBlanc sympathizes.

 

Schools push students to pass high school and apply to college. The results have shown that high school graduation rates have gone up.

What happens after college is different from what most expect; people have become less interested in applying for college.

 

The rates of students who applied to college immediately after high school decreased from 69% to 66%, between the years 2008 to 2013 according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center . People have instead chosen to apply to working class jobs after high school.

Alia Wong’s “Where are all the high school grads going?” addresses the decrease in people applying to college and argues that the decision to work instead is not bad.

 

“In some ways, the high-school graduates who head straight into the labor market are the most practical among diploma recipients,” Wong states. “The Atlantic’s Gillian White has pointed out that the types of institutions seeing the most significant declines in enrollment tend to offer degrees that provide only marginal improvements in job prospects compared to high-school diplomas.”

 

Wong’s main purpose is to conclude that college does not guarantee success.

 

LeBlanc agrees with Wong as she comments on people who she has known that have never applied to college. “College is an option for success but it is not necessarily the only option,” LeBlanc states. “I know many people around me who have gone to college, finished college degrees, and who have never stepped foot on a campus.  A friend of mine finished a degree in business and is now a stay at home mom.  Another friend of mine moved up through the alarm system world and now makes approximately $200k per year running a large company.  Another friend never finished his design degree and works freelance for multiple companies designing websites.  My friend Dana went back to school in her 40’s and now is a NICU nurse at Loma Linda University Hospital.  My husband is a maintenance mechanic and makes more money than I do and has no degrees.  I don’t see any of these people as not successful.  Money doesn’t necessarily mean success and degrees don’t always promise success.”

 

Alongside her main purpose, Wong states that having a job as a working class individual is not wrong or shameful.

 

The working class is labeled so negatively to high school students that often times it’s forgettable that our whole lives are surrounded by working class people. Our relatives, school systems and daily trips to supermarkets are filled with working class. Our lives are built by working class individuals.

 

To be ashamed of being working class is to be ashamed of the place where you grew.

 

LeBlanc gives advice to choices people might want to go into after graduation:

  • If a student loves school and has direction, and especially if they have government aid, they should go to a four-year university
    • If a student loves cooking, design, art, music, acting, beauty and hair, working with their hands, or any hands on jobs they should go to a community college and look at the certificate programs, band, and drama.
    • If a student is not sure what they want to do and/or doesn’t have financial aid or a 3.0, they should also look into community college and take general ed classes and work part time.–or–if a student does not have financial aid, a community college is a perfect fit because it is affordable/free and a student can transfer to most universities of their choice when ready.
    • If you have the money and the time, you should take a year off and do a study abroad program, or join a service program like Peace Corps.
    • If a student loves military things, sports, or competition, a student should look into Military or the reserves.  

 

As high school graduates make their way to the adult world some may go to college, vocational schools, the military and various other options. Don’t mark off a working class job just due to the fact that it sounds negative. Working class jobs form communities and our day to day lives.

And if it turns out that you made the wrong choice later on with whichever path you chose then

 

LeBlanc has one last comment to make.

“It makes you stronger.”

 

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The student news site of Moreno Valley High School
Power to the Proletariat