Education System in America

Topics: Sociology, Social status, Achieved status Pages: 6 (2059 words) Published: April 3, 2007
The Education System in America: Giant Success or Catastrophic Failure? Introduction:
If education is vitally important to success why are we, as Americans, so lethargic, and apathetic in our attitudes towards obtaining a good education? Why do we discount the value of an education? Education yields knowledge, which in and of itself is a type of power. Power is coveted and sought after by many people, and sometimes is seen mistakenly as success. The education system in America can be perceived as less effective than in other countries. Is this a product of misspent funding, substandard academic requirements, or parental apathy and lack of concern? In answering some of these questions, hopefully, we can find some answers, and solutions to the current problems facing the educational institutions. Education has many strengths, weaknesses, and problems which will be brought to light in this paper. The bottom line on education is that no matter who you are, or where you live, having an education, especially a good one, is an asset or deep advantage to any individual, and should be sought after and strived for. Regarding the value of education, the intrinsic value of any item or service is essentially set by the individual wanting to obtain the item or service. This is a fundamental principle, both, economically, and socially. For example, my own personal education is only as valuable as I perceive it to be. It is also an indicator of the effort put into it. Obtaining a good education is very hard work, and requires a deep sense of dedication. Education’s greats strengths are: to act as an agent of socialization, create greater social mobility within the social structure, contribute to social integration, and establish social status. The inherent failures in education are seen in these areas also. The problems that arise from the strengths and weaknesses in education derive mainly from the social system itself, or the individual, rather than the institution of education. Education as an Agent of Socialization:

In the text, Essentials of Sociology, James Henslin states that, “People and groups that influence our orientations to life—our self-concept, emotions, attitudes, and behavior—are called agents of socialization” (Henslin, pg. 68). The premise that the people or groups of people that we associate with will indelibly affect our outcome sociologically is both monumental, and entirely true. Science says that, “anything we observe or touch, we also change.” Our social outcome is, therefore, dependent on our association with other like-minded individuals, rather than those who do not reflect the social values or personal values we find in ourselves. Henslin, later, says, “Entry into school is one of those significant steps in this transfer of allegiance, and learning of new values” (Henslin, pg. 69). This is important because learning new values, and transferring your allegiance (or thought process) from your parents to your associates is what brings about both positive and negative effects on the principle individual. For instance, one boy may choose very good friends who obey the law, and are not socially deviant. Another boy may choose very bad friends who break the law, and are very socially deviant. What is the outcome of these two boys, respectively? The first is more likely to go on to secondary education, find a good job that is fairly fulfilling, marry, and have children that will follow in his footsteps, and live a longer life. The second, however, is more likely to not continue in primary education let alone secondary, find a mediocre job that he finds less than fulfilling, not marry or marry and divorce, and live a shorter life. In examining these two hypothetical, very subjective cases, we can look at some of the reasons why education and early development in education are critical to forming a functioning, highly contributive member of society.

Examining the peer groups that the two...

Bibliography: Henslin, James M. Essentials of Sociology: A Down to Earth Approach. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon Publishing. 2006
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