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Social Problem Analysis: Social Inequality in Education

My current interests encompass the persistent issue of social inequality that we can witness as a routine practice every day. The topic is too multifaceted to study as a whole, thus, I have chosen to commit to the problem of social inequality in education. I have studied two scholarly peer-reviewed articles and two articles from web newspapers that have social inequality in educational institutions as their primary concern.

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The first article under consideration sets its goal at drawing a connection between stratification in higher education institutions and social inequality. The author gathers the information from tertiary-education graduates to determine if social background can affect the level of education. The survey involves young people from 11 countries in Europe. It is evidentiated that the social status and education level of the parents correlates with that of children and that social inequalities are more persistent in countries where more people complete a tertiary-education program (Triventi 455-500).

Another scholarly article is concerned with the people of social inequality in schools only. The authors hypothesize that children’s socioeconomic status (SES) serves as an indicator of their academic skills, at least during advanced schooling. Consequently, children with higher socioeconomic status tend to have a better place in the job market after they graduate than children from a low-SES background, thus only increasing the social inequality (Raudenbush and Eschmann 465-469).

Among the non-academic sources I studied is an article concerning the school students’ opportunities to learn mathematics. The author’s message is that unequal opportunities in primary education are not the problem for only low-SES families and minority students to adress. He states how students are segregated by SES and family background and how varied the content they study is. The author puts the blame on state and district standards in teaching math, which are inadequate (Schmidt par. 1-9).

Another article displays a longitudinal study of people from different social background, recorded every seven years since the age of seven. The author dwells upon the necessity of teachers’ awareness of the SES diversity they have in their classes. She shares that she pays close attention to the students’ SES while picking class topics and assigning home tasks (White par. 1-11).

I will use the social-conflict paradigm to explain the problem of social inequality in schools. This approach regards society as an unequal entity. Inequalities of different levels lead to conflicts and trigger changes in social structure. I consider social background and economic status in terms of unequal opportunities. Diversity in opportunities does not result in order and stability, quite on the contrary: we may regard inequality in schooling as the high-SES persons’ struggle to persevere their privilege and supremacy.

The appropriate solutions to the problem of inequality would be almost entirely school-focused. Of course, non-profit organizations in disadvantaged areas can assist children in improving their cognitive skills and academic performance in the long run. However, to address the inequality issues, it is needed to understand the importance educating school staff. The belief that equal education content for children of diverse SES gives an equal academic performance should be eradicated. The staff should also be motivated (probably, by means of performance-related payment) and encouraged to get innovative. The innovations, however, should be employed under the guidance of local governments who are more informed of their local community’s needs than the state.

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Works Cited

Raudenbush, Stephen, and Robert Eschmann. “Does Schooling Increase or Reduce Social Inequality?” Annual Review of Sociology 41 (2015): 443-470. Print.

Schmidt, William. “Inequality in the American Education System.Huffpost College., Inc., 2012. Web.

Triventi, Moris. “Stratification in Higher Education and Its Relationship with Social Inequality: A Comparative Study of 11 European Countries.” European Sociological Review 29.3 (2013): 489-502. Print.

White, Genevieve. “Social inequality in schools: how can teachers redress the balance?The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 2015. Web.

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