Sociology Unequal Education

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Education Theory
Education is defined in our textbook as the social institution through which society provides its members with important knowledge, including basic facts, job skills, and cultural norms and values. In my opinion, there couldn’t be a better way to describe education. (Macionis, John J. Sociology, 13ed, page 516) It teaches us the facts on history, math, English and other basic subjects while quietly teaching us the way we are supposed to act, what is considered right and wrong, and general values and norms the system wants us to incorporate. On the darker side, it teaches us how we are divided among our peers, how we separate and categorize each other - sometimes for the worse. Even though those things aren’t in the curriculum, we may learn them more than the lessons that are in the curriculum.

Looking at education in the US from a social-conflict point of view, education is distributed very unequally among the social classes. Yes, all children in the United States have access to free education from kindergarten through twelfth grade, but not all schools are created equal. The teachers that are employed at grade schools in inner-city Chicago or extremely rural Kentucky are probably not the best in the nation in terms of quality as compared to the ones teaching in the Harvard suburbs. Kids that live in inner-city areas are going to have a very different education than those who live in upper-level communities. This will afford them less access to the opportunities they could gain from a good education. Kids from a lower social-economic status are more likely to have less access to a quality education. This is a very Marxist social-conflict theory. (Racial Stratification and Education in the United States: Why Inequality Persists. By: John. B Ugbu)

Looking at education from a structural-functional point of view it is very functional. If every child was truly given the best education possible, and sent to Ivy League schools, then there would be no one to work the lower level, lower education-requiring jobs. Even though that theory sounds cold, it’s still very true. For our society to function, we need people to work in fast food restaurants, janitorial services, cleaning services, etc. If every person was college educated, much less ivy-league college educated, we would have no one to work these jobs. Also, not every person is capable, or has the mental capacity to get a higher level education. Terminal degrees are only awarded to a very small minority of our society for a reason.

Public school was originally creates to be the “great equalizer”. It was created to try to take the great inequalities (race, gender, and social-class) out of our society and make it more equal, especially when schools became integrated. For the first time in history education was offered to everyone, and free education at that. Instead of education only being available to wealthy men - white men - education becEducation Theory

Education is defined in our textbook as the social institution through which society provides its members with important knowledge, including basic facts, job skills, and cultural norms and values. In my opinion, there couldn’t be a better way to describe education. (Macionis, John J. Sociology, 13ed, page 516) It teaches us the facts on history, math, English and other basic subjects while quietly teaching us the way we are supposed to act, what is considered right and wrong, and general values and norms the system wants us to incorporate. On the darker side, it teaches us how we are divided among our peers, how we separate and categorize each other - sometimes for the worse. Even though those things aren’t in the curriculum, we may learn them more than the lessons that are in the curriculum.

Looking at education in the US from a social-conflict point of view, education is distributed very unequally among the social classes. Yes, all children in the United States have access to free...
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