Writing and Class Disparity

One of the main points that Brandt discusses that particularly concerns me, is that the association in the United States between socio-economic status and literacy stems from the large investment of the government into teaching and protecting reading, and from the private investments in teaching writing. She claims that this “gap in wealth” is due to “patterns of access and investment that accompany the role of writing in economic production” (149). Reading instruction is reserved for cultural assimilation of immigrants, while writing instructions are given for white-collar positions. Brandt reiterates this point on page 172 when she discusses how commercial enterprise and wealth production are linked with writing.

Brandt’s comment on this disparity in writing knowledge between the “literary-haves” and the “literary have-nots” as it stems from the priority of public versus private investments is really salient to the topic of education disparities in inner city school districts versus wealthy suburbs. I was fortunate enough to attend an excellent public school that prepared me very well for college. I began writing short fictional stories as young as the First grade, and can attribute the steady progression I have made in writing to the support and instruction I received in middle-upper class learning institutions, from my elementary school to U of M. Writing is more expensive to teach then reading, as it requires good instructors who can be supported by schools, companies, etc. Writing at a higher level also requires being well learned in various other subject matters.

I never thought until now about how privileged I am to have been taught how to write, and to have ample opportunities to continue learning how to perfect my writing skills. Brandt made me think about writing in a new context: it is a valuable skill that is taught only to those who can afford it.






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