Education in Chicago and Caracas

This is part of an essay that I’m writing for my 4th World class. It is helping me understand the relationship between poverty in the United States and Venezuela. Poverty is poverty no matter where it exists and it has been very interesting to see how similar yet different the condition of poverty is defined in these two cities.

…The majority of children in the ghetto or barrios get involved with drugs and violence because of the deficiency both public school systems have. In Chicago part of the problem is that kids give up on school because they drug dealing as an easy way out. A 37-year old unemployed black male expressed in the book When Work Disappears that “some kids just seem like they don’t want to learn… They see guys out there making big bucks with fancy cars, jewelry and stuff, and they try to emulate them (Wilson, 57)”. Additionally to this problem, the inner-city Chicago children have no extra-curricular activities which could potentially keep them away from getting involved with drugs and violence. Another interviewee from When Work Disappears stated “our children… seem to be more at risk than any other children there is, because there’s no library for them to go to. There’s not a center they can go to, there’s no field house they can go to. There’s nothing (Wilson, 64)”. In Venezuela the situation is not very different than in the US, the same problems are encountered. In Caracas there only a small percentage of children actually attend schools. According to an article from the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal, the president of the foundation Arturo Uslar Pietri, Antonio Ecarri, assured that the number of students registered for high school level in public schools in Caracas was reduced by 40% and that this is the most dangerous age group to get involved with delinquent bands (de la Rosa, 2001). According to Ecarri there needs to be 13,000 new schools in Venezuela because 4 million children are not registered in the school system (de la Rosa, 2011). Both Chicago and Caracas’ families living under poverty conditions lack involvement with schools, sometimes because they can’t afford it, sometimes because the kids decide that they need to start earning money through any mean, sometimes because the parents do not encourage their kids to go to school, because no one every encouraged them. This lack of self-steam that comes from the parents creates a negative environment where these kids are growing, they are being taught by their parents that people like them attempt to go to school or don’t go at all, if they even go to school they are most likely to be unsuccessful and drop out, and they end up having to find a way to make money early on in life. In Chicago a lot of people opt to not get married and have children out of wedlock in order to be eligible for welfare. Now, this is a generalization for families both in Chicago and Caracas, there are people in these cities that have managed to finish school and get a good steady job. The problem is that the majority of the inhabitants of the ghettos or the barrios end up living the same life as their parents, therefore they don’t evolve and stay stuck in the conditions that they are in for generations…

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