September 28, 2010
Social Status: Excuse or Not?
The education of the youth is, without much dispute, a highly important issue within the U.S. This nation was founded on equality and opportunity, two beliefs that have seamlessly transitioned into American education, or so it seemed. In these articles by Gregory Mantsios, Jonathan Kozol, and Jean Anyon, the same education Americans claim to hold so high comes under question. These authors provide excellent insight on the negative relationship between social class and education. However, they fail to address an important element that ultimate responsibility falls on the individual for his or her own education, regardless of social class.
Anyon, Kozol, and Mantsios analyze the detriments of stereotype expectations and social class conditioning. According to the authors, every school caters toward a certain demographic and prepares students for occupations which keep them in a specific class. Jean Anyon groups these schools into four main types (working-class, middle-class, affluent professional, and executive elite). These classifications are meant to encompass the broad range of American children receiving education (Anyon 398). Likewise, Kozol discusses mainly working class schools in which a majority of the students are black. The schools Kozol outlines all provide their students with significant disadvantages in the educated world when compared to either the affluent professional or executive elite schools. In his essay, “Class in America”, Mantsios goes so far as to correlate family income with students SAT scores. He also outlines two men whose very polar lives resulted from an education that stemmed from their parents annual salary. These are all examples of how society expects certain stereotypes to remain in their societal box. According to these authors, society as a whole does not expect or even encourage social ladder climbers. Students are conditioned from...