American Education System and Social Stratification

Equality and the American Education System

The equality in education presupposes the implication that people of different background living in the same country have the same extent of the access to education. The question of the equality in education goes beyond just the political and economic situation in a certain country. Moreover, the opportunity for the people of different gender, age, race, and class to be equal in their right to education and access to different media of knowledge reflects the cultural state of the society, the level of how civilized it is, and humanistic tendencies. Although the American education system is determined to provide the equal access to knowledge for the different people regardless of their background, there are still a certain number of issues concerning the fair conditions of education.

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In the modern context, there are two major determinants of the educational equality that challenge the American system of education. The first one is the fair conditions of the education (Schmidt, Cogan, & McKnight, 2011). In other words, the academic success cannot be estimated based on any particular features of the individual’s background or personal traits.

In terms of American educational system, this proposition implies that people with different economic background and financial opportunities should have an opportunity to access knowledge. Secondly, the education should be more inclusive, which is especially important in the diverse society. Thus, the objective of modern education system in America is to be fair and inclusive to everyone willing to be educated and help them to cope with vulnerabilities that stand in the way.

Social Stratification in Modern Industrial Societies

The social stratification is a way of dividing the people within a certain society into so-called social strata that are defined primarily by the economic and social status of the individual, prosperity, and power. Despite the necessity of the social hierarchy for the overall functioning of the human interactions and different social relationships, the forms that social stratification takes in modern industrial societies can sometimes be undesirable and have negative implications.

Traditionally, the three major classes (or strata) are distinguished in the social hierarchy, which includes lower, middle, and upper classes. Such classification only became possible in the modern Western industrial countries since, during the feudal and new age times, the classes were recognized on the basis of the individual’s origins and nobility.

The positive aspect of the modern way of social stratification, including American society, is that it gives an opportunity for social mobility. For instance, the person who grew up in the lower class family will not be restricted by their background and can improve their social status. However, the most significant issue is that the spectrum of mobility is limited, and there is a danger of social anomie, when the individuals are rejected by all the classes and, therefore, lose the societal values (Lemel & Noll, 2002).

Therefore, in modern industrial societies, the social stratification helps to preserve the societal values by giving people the opportunity to be mobile and change their status. However, if the stratification is too strict, the individuals may experience anomie and reject the values of society.

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Lemel, Y., & Noll, H. (2002). Changing structures of inequality: a comparative perspective (Vol. 10). Montreal, Canada: McGill-Queen’s Press.

Schmidt, W. H., Cogan, L. S., & McKnight, C. C. (2011). Equality of Educational Opportunity: Myth or Reality in US Schooling? American Educator, 34(4), 12-19.

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