Access and Priorities in Education

The prioritizing of education resulted in an increase in the average lifestyle in America by boosting the family income. Inequality was one of the three determinants of how much a family made, and as equality is further approached by cultural recognition, more the trends began to shift for later generations. Educational opportunities were increased as the system proved its openness to accepting people from different backgrounds. The system today is not the perfect equalizer, and it is one that potentially produces socioeconomic inequality either, which keeps from perfect equality. For example, people from all over the world are welcome to learn within this comprehensive system of learning institutions, but not everyone can afford it, or feel fitting in a certain environment. Students in higher end areas are not the same demographic concentration as students in lower end areas, and this is because they are segregated by choice more than anything in order to avoid oppression of any sort either from the society, the teachers and/or the students. The richer keep themselves away from the poorer, and most times refuse to share benefits of education and healthcare, for example. This is something that might not be taught by teachers at school, but social learning, as this class mentions in previous readings, is a very powerful way of learning and instilling fundamental knowledge. When asked if education today is reducing or expanding gaps, I can only respond with my experiences and research alongside the readings: it is doing both! It is reducing some gaps, maintaining some gaps, and expanding some gaps. Social, economic, political, linguistic, gender, psychological and other learning science fields’ areas can all cause barriers that interfere with unequal opportunities.

Of course “second-chance” education opportunities help elevate the passed-up opportunities, the number of people who have parents who have graduated higher education has increased. This is one important way that the American education system had reduced a gap. The changes in the United States’ technological and political system made sure, though, that the gaps in income remain by increasing requirements for continued or more valued employment. This resulted in a worse number of students able to attend school because of being not able to afford it. In higher education, entry and completion depended on income and, in many times, the sex of the child being supported into it. Many reasons that there are less graduations than acceptances is that it becomes less affordable over time and the student postpones or withdraws their learning experience. The biggest surprise, though it that the lowest and third quartile of income families were the ones with lowest levels of graduation. It would be more acceptable if it was more a quasi-linear increase from lowest to top income category. There is so much to say and discuss from the readings! We can only hope that Obama’s last mission for education would work and that community colleges would be available to all at no cost so that those percentages would increase. Hopefully the current administration would help further this step forward towards making higher education more accessible.

Murnane, R. J. (2011). Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances (G. J. Duncan, Ed.).

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