Education and Poverty relationship


There is often a relationship between education and poverty as evident in “The Other Wes Moore,” where two similar boys take different paths in terms of their future. Moore is an investment banker, a Rhodes Scholar, as well as a former Condoleezza Rice aide. The other Moore, who is his age mate, comes from Greater Baltimore. They both end up in jail. Both of them were raised by single mothers in underprivileged black neighborhoods that prompted them to decide that financial security would be attained by engaging in drugs.

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The author is able to resist the criminal world, even as the other Wes tends to drift into drugs. The story is a proof that mothers play a significant role in their children’s lives and their levels of education being an important factor in the equation. Moore writes on ghetto youth plight as he digs into the pathologies to highlight the pressures, poverty, and lack of opportunity. He derives inspiration from the need to respond to or find a solution to what led the other Wess to doom. “The Other Wes Moore” talks about two boys with identical names and share same backgrounds from Baltimore. The author of the book is from a family, which is well educated as his mother is a college graduate. The mother of the other Wes Moore has had an associate’s degree, although she did not finish college because of lack of funding from the government. The different educational levels in both families are instrumental in how the two Wes’s grow up in the future, which proves a connection between education and poverty.

It is evident that there were educational differences between the two Wes’s. As a toddler, the author had a very loving family, a nice home, and parents who were successful. The death of his father, when the author was 13 years from a sickness, saw dramatic changes take place in his life (Moore, 245). The author’s mother, Joy, had to move to Brox and live with her parents after being unable to raise her three children. She took her children in a respectable school in town to protect them from drugs and gangs, which were rampant in the neighborhood. The situation was challenging for Wes because he discovered how difficult it was to be in both worlds. This is because he was too rich for majority of children in his neighborhood and poor in comparison to the kids in his school. The situation made him a troublemaker as he started skipping school, getting into alteration with the police, and setting smoke bombs in other student’s lockers. Joy, the author’s mother, realizes that he would soon lose his son and chooses to take action by sending him in to a military school. The educational differences in the two families are evident as the author’s grandparents decided to mortgage their home in order to raise money to send their grandson to a military school in a Pennsylvania. The next six years saw the troubled teen grow to a leader and an academic superstar. He was ranked the top student out of 750 military cadets with other accomplishments. He got an internship Baltimore mayor and acquired degrees in international relations as well as economics from the renowned Johns Hopkins University (Moore, 390). At the age of 22 saw him awarded a scholarship to study in Oxford University.

On the other hand, the failing education standard in the other Wes family proves that Mary, the mother, has failed to provide the much needed guidance to her son. He skips school to party with his friend and comes home intoxicated. Mary and her boyfriend make fun of the other Wes’s state and find him quite entertaining instead of punishing his son or talking to him about the dangerous consequences of drug abuse. Mary ignores the whole issue and pretends that it is not important. Instead, she looks at him and does completely nothing as the other Wes suffers from hangover, with the hope that he would learn from that experience. Nevertheless, because of her unfortunate choice not to address the issue directly, the other Wes does not learn anything she had hoped he would in the end. Mary should not have played cool but disciplined his son in a way to show him that he was not allowed to use drugs or alcohol in her house (Moore 190). Her failure to do that made the other Wes believe that drugs and alcohol were acceptable for him and others. Perhaps, this is what makes him believe that selling drugs was the only way of survival and a good initiative. There is a solid possibility that if Mary took an active role in her son’s life, things would have been different. The intervention of the important events during Wes’ childhood by Mary would have made a big impact on future decisions made by Wes. This would have led him to a different path and made him a better person, but instead the other Wes is a now parent and locked up in jail. He ends up stealing, became drug dealer, as well as a convicted killer, which is a sharp difference compared to the author who comes out as the lucky Wes.

It is evident from the book that education is important in the determination of one’s future because luck does not determine the life of an individual. It is a major factor that could encourage other African Americans to become successful in life as opposed to failing in life. The coincidence of the two Wes’ lives obviously indicates the conspicuously and extremely diverse paths taken by the two as they lead separate lives. The situation makes the reader to question what would been done to ensure that the other Wes did not make destructive choices. This is because sharing same backgrounds would have ended up with related results for them. The difference in their lives is because of the different ways their mothers instill discipline in them. This aspect offers the necessary information in terms of what should have been done to encourage the other Wes to succeed in life. All these entail education and their interaction with others, which leads to a bright future.

Reflecting on the lives of the two Wes,’ it highlights the obvious fact that education remains a crucial factor in the future life of Wes Moore, the author, as his mother takes note of his deteriorating school performance, which is lined to his delinquent ways. His mother sacrifices a lot and sends the children to private schools, which are perceived to perform academically better compared to public schools. The first step that cements the author’s bright future is his mother decision to take him to a military school located in Pennsylvania. The valuing of education as well as ensuring one is motivated to place value in them is the driving force to attain satisfactory results in relation to a person’s life (Moore 300). According to the author, the rising cases of school dropouts remains a big challenge among the black community, which has resulted to high delinquency cases and increased crime rates. The challenges associated with poverty have made many youths to search for money to purchase food and other provisions in crime related settings. They perceive this behavior as the easy way to succeed in life. This is exactly what happens to the other Wes’ life as he drop out of school and ends up as a criminal to help him himself as well as his family with necessities. Obviously, his story could have been different if he continued with his education in spite of the challenges he faced. Therefore, the community together with family plays a major role in shaping young people lives.

Education in the family unit forms the fundamental foundations for the growth of all children. The two Wes’ have endured numerous challenges associated with growing up without a father in their family set up. The lucky Wes’ mother seems to have taken up the challenge and is instrumental in any decision made by her children. As a mother, one is responsible for making decisions for her children’s future with the knowledge that their future depends of their present decisions. The nonexistence of a father resonates with authority absence in both the two Wes because they display delinquency challenges in their youth. One of them joins a military school while the other slowly grows in into a rebellious person. A positive turn during this point of their childhood would have guarantee that the other Wes does get into crime, and keep him from the possibility of being locked up in jail (Moore, 345). The roles of the community are the provision of vital advice to the youth and make sure negative aspects such as crime and drugs do not influence them. They need to be protected to ensure that they do not live a destructive life. The role further emphasizes the need for the family to inculcate proper values for the youth and influences their lives positively in a bid to help them make appropriate decisions concerning their lives.


Personal responsibility in terms of attaining education as evident in the lives of the two Wes’s lives makes a difference in their future. This is evident in the book, particularly when the other Wes makes a s decision to engage in crime as a means to attain financial security. The personal decision made by an individual makes one grow into adulthood based on the principles adopted along the way as evident in the book. At the same time, the story emphasizes the need to inspire the correct values as well as attitudes in people’s lives during the early developmental stages. After numerous attempts to run away from military school, the author, who is the lucky Wes, chooses to stay and focus on performing well. The decision seems to lay his foundation of success in all his future accomplishments as he learns to achieve his goals despite every challenge that comes along the way. The attitude change towards the situation in relation to the other Wes’ reaction sets the ground of their different paths in life. The analyses of the myriad of factors, which have shaped their lives since their childhood, point out to the avenues that ensure that black community younger generation stop destroying their lives and have a successful future.



Works Cited

Moore, Wes. Discovering Wes Moore. New York: Delacorte Press, 2012. Print.

Moore, Wes. Discovering Wes Moore: Chances, Choices, Changes. New York: Delacorte Press, 2012. Print.

Moore, Wes. The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2010. Print.

Moore, Wes. The Other Wes Moore: The Story of One Name and Two Fates. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2010. Print.



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