In the essay I Just Wanna Be Average, by Mike Rose, examines the idea of setting low standards for students. Rose discusses the apathy amongst students who are given bottom level schooling. He describes the harsh treatment and neglect he receives when his Stanford-Binet educational placement test is swapped with another student.
The Vocational Education's goal is to increase the economic opportunities for students who do not get good placement test scores. In this lower track Rose talks about how the material is boring and uninteresting. He describes the teachers at the school he attends at Our Lady of Mercy as simply inexperienced, and lacked control over the students. He goes on to say that the students often get into physical altercations due to the array of kids from different backgrounds. Though he would not consider himself a jock he likes the guys in Voc. Ed as he holds in high regard their physical prowess and eventually gets along with all of them. To quote Rose he states that “students will float to the mark you set....vocational classes were bobbing in pretty shallow water“ (352).
When he finally switches to the College Prep program his Junior year he sees it as mixed blessing. Rose becomes aware he is not prepared for it and he lacks the proper motivation as well. The turning point comes with a beatnik teacher named Jack Macfarland, when he gets Rose interested in reading and creating stories. Macfarland eventually becomes instrumental in Rose's acceptance to Loyola University when he writes a letter of recommendation to admissions and he also negotiates to get him a student loan.
Rose, Mike. “I Just Wanna Be Average” 50 Essays. Ed. 2. Bedford/St. Martin's. Boston, 2007. 352. Print.