EducationalInequality in the United States
EducationalInequality in the United States
Theever-increasing inequalities in the way income is distributed amongAmerican citizens affects the access to education right from thetime one begins schooling to higher education. In states with biggergaps between high and low-income families, young people who come fromhigh-income families obtain more education. Children from low-comefamilies obtain less education compared to states with smaller gapsbetween high and low-income families(Gamoran, 2011). The amount of income spent by state governments on educationinfluences the quality of education that children access. Thus,states with a higher rate of income inequality need to invest more inenhancing the standards of education. Inequality in educationpresents a paradox to the United States historical belief inopportunity for all, regardless of the social background. Many morepeople aspire to attain the best education so that they can joinhigh-paying careers. When there is low government spending for publicschools in low-income families, the effects of the inequality arelikely to continue into adulthood because they will not have equalaccess to educational opportunities like children from high-incomehouseholds. Households from poor districts solely rely on theirresources to finance education for their children. The United Statesuses sub-national taxation to collect funds that fund public schools.Therefore, poor households do not raise enough money to supporteducational programs in public schools fully.
Thedistribution of wealth among social groups has a direct relationshipwith access to education in the United States. Income from theindividual parent or guardian and states affects the investment ofschools in educational infrastructure. Accessibility to educationalinfrastructure affects the level of student attainment in many ways,therefore, leading into inequalities that have long characterized theAmerican education system. Most people in the United States attendschools that are relatively similar with respect to social classbackgrounds of the other students. One reason for this trend is thatpopulations tend to live in areas that are fairly similar withrespect to class and race. If students attend their neighborhoodschool, they are with students from similar social and/or racialbackgrounds.
Residentailareas with racial, ethnic and income diversity do not confineschool-going children to the same school environments Giddens,Duneier, Appelbaum, & Carr, 2010).The states with a high number of private schools have a higherconcentration of urban areas. Although special public schoolsaccommodate students from different social, ethnic, and racialbackgrounds, the curricular tracking system exposes to differentprograms depending on what they can afford. The exclusion of studentsfrom low-income households into low trucks is manifest of how theAmerican system has entrenched inequality. In older suburbs andcities, children from higher-income families are likely to attendhomogenous neighborhood schools, selective public schools, and to bein higher trucks. Children from low-income families are also likelyto attend school together, possibly with little emphasis on highertrucks because of the possibility that they are also likely to be ina homogenous educational program. Many middle-class families sendtheir children to special public, parochial, or private schoolsdepending on their affordability. Private day and boarding schoolsare also similar in terms social class in spite of the availabilityavailable scholarship awards to children.
Asmentioned above, income inequalities directly cause educationalinequalities because it affects the extent to which students accessvital learning and developmental facilities in school set up. At mostupper and upper middle-class high schools, the grounds are spaciousand well-maintained. Students in these schools can access enhancedcomputers, relevant laboratory lessons, a variety of languageprograms, and extensive athletic facilities hence, they have ahigher chance of excelling in both academic and cocurricularactivities. The schools have the capacity to get teachers who havethe best qualifications and are responsive to student needs classesare small, and nearly every student studies a college preparatoryprogram. The schools are also quite small with populations as low as1200 students. Teachers have an obligation to be responsive to bothstudents and parents since their performance contracts are subject toschool evaluation. Unsatisfactory performance of a teacher theseschools attract punitive measures since they are not unionized, andmost of them do not have the tenure like their counterparts in publicschools. Numerous advanced placement courses in these schools offerstudents the possibility of college credit. They also have a lot ofchances for extracurricular activities such as debate and dramaclubs, publications, and music. They have the chance to learn theselected sporting activities that selective colleges admire.
Thewide-range of academic and extracurricular faculties available inhigh and middle-income schools may not be available in low-incomepublic schools due to insufficient funding. Low-income householdscannot afford the pay for schooling in private or special publicschools. Such inequalities in access to educational opportunitieshave an effect on how much knowledge children gain from their schoolexperiences. Students from deprived schools have high drop-out rates,which reduces those who end up graduating from high school. Statefunding of education fundamentally enables children from poorhouseholds to access education. Proper and sufficient funding shouldtarget opportunities to learn effectively, hire qualified teachers,employ and use inquiry-based teaching methods, and provide relevantequipment, especially for teaching science and sports.
Insociological theory, the functionalist theory explains the problemsthat arise as a result of Educational inequality in the UnitedStates. The theory describes the society in terms of the functionalunits that constitute it. Some of the functional units of the societyare institutions that determine every single aspect of the society.They include educational institutions right from elementary to highereducation, security agencies, government, and, of course, the familyunit. According to the functionalist theory, each unit plays a vitalrole in the general stability of the society. For instance, differentinstitutions play a particular role in meeting specified needs of thesociety. Each of these needs shape the society in one way or another.The units depend on each other in fulfilling what the society needs.An example of how the functionalist theory works in regard toeducation is the way the American education system works. While thegovernment is responsible for funding public schools in the states,households pay the taxes that provide the necessary revenues to forthe government to meet educational needs. Similarly, the familydepends on the school system to impart important skills in childrenso that they can gain the capacity to support their families in thefuture. In the process, an educated society breeds law-abidingcitizens that would support the state in the pursuit of differentsocietal goals. If it all goes right, the society becomes stable dueto the existing social order. If it all goes wrong parts of thesociety are left behind, and they take a long time struggling torecapture the new social order.
Inconclusion, the inequalities in the United States embody societywhose constituent units has not played their respective rolesproperly in creating the required social order. As explained above,inequalities in education begin right from the early stages ofeducation. Now that the education system in the United States islargely affected by income disparities, government should possiblyadopt safety nets for children and students from poor households. Thecollective belief of education for all in the United States shouldbegin by instituting policies that pursue an egalitarian educationsystem.
Gamoran,A. (2011). American schooling and educational inequality: A forecastfor the 21st century. Sociologyof education,135-153.
Giddens,A., Duneier, M., Appelbaum, R. P., & Carr, D. (2010).Introductionto sociology.New York: WW Norton.