Poverty and Sub-Standard Education in America
Culture within a society indicates a way of life including widespread values, beliefs, and behavior. These values dictate what is socially acceptable and exploit a preference in perspective that begins to formulate norms, an informal method of guiding behavior. Social interaction within each culture is directly related to the norms established within that location. Individuals who do not partake in these social interactions are considered outcasts. This type of judgment in behavior is responsible for nothing more than social discrimination. Individuals feel pressured to stay connected, not wanting to be labeled and treated as an outcast. As behavior is altered by social pressure, it exemplifies how an individual’s life can be shaped by society. Understanding this link is the first step in realizing that personal problems are undoubtedly influenced by society. As an individualistic culture, most Americans feel that their personal problems are a result of personal choices. This allows society to blame the victim for their own circumstances without looking at external factors that cause the same issues for millions of other Americans. A social problem is a condition that undermines the well-being of some or all members of a society and is usually a matter of public controversy. While one group may feel disadvantaged by a social problem, there is often another group that is benefitting from the situation, creating resistance for change. While many social problems are related, sociologists also feel most can be solved. One of the most distinguished relationships currently exists between poverty and substandard education. Poverty in the USA is one of the most widely known, yet underrated social problems currently plaguing the country. The poverty line is a gross underestimation resembling standard parameters of income for the purpose of counting the poor, the issue concerns the fact that the standard has not changed for over 50 years. The current 2012 poverty line is set at an annual income of $22,350 for a family of four, and $11,170 annually for a single person (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). This is a stark comparison in reference to recent cost of living requirements for a single person in the Hudson Valley, NY, given by Professor Gilmore as $1891 monthly, or $22692 annually which is far more reasonable. Each day in this great country, millions of Americans struggle to pay for food and housing. Perhaps the most alarming statistics consider the working poor, families with two working parents that still cannot make it month to month. American middle class families have been falling into the ranks of the working poor at record rates due to high levels of unemployment, growing inflation, and recent crises within the financial and housing industries. The contending world economy affects millions of American workers by forcing them to compete with laborers on the other side of the globe working for a fraction of the cost. As the largest American companies continue to outsource for record profits, the future of American generations is severely at risk. “Since 2001, over 42,000 U.S. factories have closed down for good and one out of every six Americans is currently enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government” (The Economic Collapse). Our economy has also lost 10% of middle class jobs since 2000, directly contributing to thinning the middle class (The Economic Collapse). As jobs have been recently increasing, they are mostly low-wage service jobs within the restaurant and retail industries without health benefits, retirement opportunities, or paid sick leave. “Since 2001, the U.S. has lost 50,000 good paying manufacturing jobs each month, most of which within blue collar sectors” (The Economic Collapse). With the recent epidemic of low-wage jobs, many Americans are combating the economic situation by returning...
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