Cedric Jennings in A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind

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Cedric Jennings in A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind

Throughout the novel, A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind, Cedric Jennings is a minority student in a poor, inner city school, trying to fight his way up to the top. He has a greater hope for himself than the overwhelming majority of the other students at Ballou High. Cedric faces many challenges to eventually make his way to Brown University. According to Labaree, Cedric is exercising the goal of social mobility, meaning that he works against the competition to get into a high-ranking college and hopefully a well-paying job. Although personally Cedric is trying to obtain this goal, I am having difficulty placing what purpose of education that Ballou High is trying to fulfill.
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And they're further behind now than they were then. It would take two years of tutoring, not six weeks, to bring some of the inner cities' brightest up to a level where they might be accepted to MIT," (Suskind, 91). Unfortunately, Cedric fell into this mix and found himself barely able to keep up with the program and was inevitable rejected from the MIT program. Even his SAT scores were severely below the standard to get into high-ranking colleges. Although he is trying to exercise social mobility, he is floundering in a sea of extreme competition that he was not prepared for at Ballou. The only reason that Cedric is able to get so far is because of his own hard work and determination that he will eventually be able to exchange to an Ivy League education at Brown University.

It is hard to decide what purpose of schooling that Ballou High is trying to follow. It seems to me that the education system there is so far beyond repair that they have given up hope to have any purpose at all. The few students that are able to follow the road of social mobility, go somewhere, the others go nowhere and learn nothing. The principal at Ballou sums up the philosophy of the school best- " The idea: save as many kids as you can by separating out the top students early and putting the lion's share of the resources into boosting as many of them as possible to college. Forget about the rest. The few kids who can manage to learn, to the right; the overwhelming majority

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