Table of Contents
To ensure equal education opportunity for all Americans, the Federal government of the US have invested resources to ensure that all Americans receive education regardless of factors such as race, religion, or economic status. Despite this, current research studies in the American education sector show that there is an emerging gap between children from privileged families and those from disadvantaged families (Stevenson 213). The widening gap between the children from these two economic classes poses a threat to the education system and the future of America because the difference in the quality of Education that is received by these children determines their future. However, the impacts of the division in income and its impact on the society has not been addressed by policy makers.
As already alluded in the introduction, high-quality education in the US is less attainable for the disadvantaged due to the lack of resources available to them. Single parent households, low paying jobs, and poverty, are some of the examples of why they lack the resources required to obtain a higher education (Sparks 5). Consequently, higher education is more likely to be achieved by the privileged due to the many opportunities afforded them such as preparatory schools, tutors and the financial ability to have all the necessary resources available to help them to succeed. After watching the video “President Obama Announces Free Community College Plan,” President Obama discusses a proposal to offer a tuition-free education for the first two years of community college as long as that particular individual wants to work for it. This will give everyone a chance to compete, and go out into the professional work environment. In line with these aspects, this paper is going to examine the difference in the availability of resources between the rich and poor families contributes to inequality in education and the future of children.
Disadvantaged vs. Privileged: Inequality and Education
Economic factors have direct impacts on education, for example, the different economic classes determine the type of schools that one attends, and in this regard, the children from affluent families can afford to go to better schools as compared to children from poor families (Pazzanese par. 10). Children from affluent families are advantaged because, right from infancy up to the age of six years, they spend an estimated 1300 hours in places and on activities that improve their literacy skills, and this gives them an additional advantage over their counterparts from poor families. In addition to this, affluent parents spend more financial resources than poor parents (Ashburn 3). These parents can buy books, computers, and provide a high-quality healthcare to their children. They can also take their children for summer camps, art and music lessons, and as a result, the children from families with resources are more prepared for kindergarten because they possess more background knowledge than their counterparts from poor families (Reardon 95).
Affluent parents can afford to take their children to private schools that have highly-qualified and experienced teachers and with fewer students in a single class, as compared to parents from the low-economic class. Poor parents take their children to schools with less qualified teachers and with crowded learners in a single class, and this results in inequality in academic performance and future achievement in the work environment. The qualification of a teacher plays a significant role in the academic achievement of learners because a highly-qualified and experienced teacher possess the relevant knowledge and skills to enhance the cognitive skills of learners (Bailey and Dynarski 120). In addition to this, in a crowded classroom, it is difficult to accord each child a close and personal attention. This is as opposed to private schools with few learners in a classroom, and where a teacher can pay closer attention to every learner, and hence, the difference in academic achievement.
Inequality is also apparent in the American education system, for example, privileged parents can take their children to better elementary and high schools where they are taken through a high-quality curriculum where they receive better training (Bailey and Dynarski 123). Therefore, children from affluent families stand a better chance to complete their college education because they will score better grades to secure a place in the tertiary educational institutions. As a result, these children can secure better jobs, and hence, a better future as compared to their counterparts from poor families.
In conclusion, has been used as a tool to achieve equality in the US. However, the inequality that exists in the distribution of resources brings about the concept of the privileged and the disadvantaged, which has negatively affected the education system. Affluent parents take their children to private schools with qualified teachers and with quality curriculums, and this ensures better academic achievement and a better future for their children. On the other hand, poor parents take their children to schools with poor curriculum and less qualified teachers, leading to poor academic achievement and this puts their future in jeopardy.
- Ashburn, Elyse. “Report Suggests Steps to Help Poor.” Chronicle of Higher Education 20 July 2007: A21. Academic Search Premier. Web. 24 Nov. 2016.
- Bailey, Martha, J. and Susan M. Dynarski. Inequality in postsecondary education. In G.J. Duncan & R.J. Murnane (Eds.). Whither opportunity? Rising inequality, schools, and children’s life chances (pp. 117-132). New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation & Spencer Foundation, 2011. Print.
- Pazzanese, Christina. “The costs of inequality: Increasingly it’s the rich and the rest.” http://news.harvard.edu, February, 8, 2016. Web. 6 Dec. 2016. <http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/02/the-costs-of-inequality-increasingly-its-the-rich-and-the-rest>
- Reardon, Sean, F. “The widening academic achievement gap between the rich and the poor: New evidence and possible explanations.” In G.J. Duncan & R.J. Murnane (Eds.). Whither opportunity? Rising inequality, schools, and children’s life chances (pp. 91-116). New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation & Spencer Foundation, 2011. Print.
- Sparks, Sarah D. “‘Lucky Few’ Served by War On Poverty College Programs. (Cover Story).” Education Week 34.11 (2014): 1-15. Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Nov. 2016. <http://time.com/4154815/rich-kids-working-class-middle-property-real-estate/>
- Stevenson, Joseph M. “Children and Poverty: How American Higher Education Must.” Education 118.2 (1997): 213. Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Nov. 2016.