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Education Challenges in American Society

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Class structures in American society have been influenced by various factors, significantly education and ethnic backgrounds. The impacts of these aspects are clearly highlighted by various literary works, especially through journalistic representation in the media. In the article “under plan UC tuition could rise by 16% a year”, Nanette Asimov observes the effects of an increment in tuition fees. The article observes critically the deficiencies of the education system in respect to the availability of funds for education programs. On the other hand, Jill Tucker’s article, “SF schools gear up for tough graduation standards” observes the concerted efforts aimed at enhancing the qualitative aspect of education. Hence the representation by the journalists of the predicament facing the education system in the American society has factual credibility and lacks any political alignments. Therefore, the depiction of the education systems has compromised significantly for the children of middle and lower class families. The articles identify education as the sole means in which society develops; therefore, factors that impede education of all individuals in the society are contributors to the creation of an impoverished and underdeveloped community. Hence, in spite of the concerted efforts being implemented to improve the American education systems and content, various challenges continue to derail positive change.   

Nanette Asimov in her article, “under plan UC tuition could rise by 16% a year” indicates an increase in school fees, an aspect that plays a critical role in defining class differences in society. Funding is critical in the realization of a school’s objective. The creation of quality educational systems relies critically on the funds available. In light of these, it is essential to note that given the limitations of the funds provided in public school budgets, the education system is compromised. Public schools are characterized by a large number of students who are disproportionate to the available teachers. This proves to be difficult in paying attention to each student accordingly. Hence, article’s characterization of the political class as a root cause of poor funding is reinforced by their unreliability. An increase in tuition fees will lead to only those students who are financially capable to sustain the increased education costs to remain in school. Essentially, students from upper class families will be able to afford education; therefore, students from middle and lower class families will be unable to afford tuition, leading to increased dropout rates. The inadequate funding creates a difficulty for school administrators to maintain available resource or acquire new, efficient school resources.

This leads to poor educational systems and an increase in school fees. School facilities, academic programs, and student services are negatively affected by inadequate funding. This factor leads to an increase in school fees as administrators attempt to mitigate the effects of shortage in funding. Despite these increments in costs, the educational value keeps declining and education systems become redundant, which is characterized by overcrowded class rooms, poor infrastructure and increasing dropout rates.

Jill Tucker in her article, “SF schools gear up for tough graduation standards” indicates that it is critical to ensure that education is qualitative and not quantitative, predetermined qualifications must be set in order to maintain credibility and relevance of the education system. Therefore, benchmarked test and grade scores are crucial in ensuring that only the capable and apt students qualify for designated courses or class. However, the realization of these benchmarks is significantly dependent on student’s background. The observation of students’ conformity to inherent cultural norms, illustrated by their affiliated racial, cultural and social origins, is critical to the student’s attitude towards the social and educational environments. Thus, Kao and Thompson reiterate that test and grade performance are significantly influenced by the students’ attitudes, behavior, and characteristics, in lieu of the social-economic and family setting (Kao & Thompson, 2003). They observe that individual motivation and ambition towards educational achievement are critical to attaining the significant test scores. However, students’ propensity to perform favorably in schools is influenced significantly by their family background dynamics.

The significance of education is illustrated in various family positions in the social structures. As Lareau asserts, family relationships, involvements, and associations are critical in molding a child’s education and extracurricular activities (Lareau, 2003). These factors are critical in child development in the home environment and at school. However, this aspect depends on the family’s social and economic back grounds, hence the family’s ability to attend to a child’s education. Hout illustrates the benefits of educational attainment in elevating an individual family’s social status; hence, the respective attainment of higher social class. The achievement of class as a factor of educational attainment is critically influenced by the individual social economic background.

Jill Tucker in her article, “SF schools gear up for tough graduation standards” reiterates the need for concerted effort in enabling struggling students to catch up with their apt counterparts. The need for programs where such students will be able to access the help which is not readily available at home is crucial. In light of these, Lareau asserts that parental involvement in a child’s homework is critical in identifying strengths and weakness in a child’s education (Lareau, 2003). However, given the demands of the middle and lower class families, parents rarely involve themselves in homework. Hence, parental backgrounds are instrumental factors in student’s performance, in test and grade scores. However, the social-economic influence can have both positive and negative results depending on the social factors affecting the family; hence, their reflection in educational performance. The influences of social economic background in lieu to educational attainment are indicated by the various ethnic immigrants and African Americans. Hence, education attainment is critical in the determination of social-economic outcomes and respective class achievement in the social structures.

Therefore, in order to bridge the educational performance gaps, individual student abilities must be improved upon, while attempting to realize the parity between the white and non-white children in American schools. Kao and Thompson observe that students illustrate varying degrees of educational affinity, abilities, and intelligence. These are depicted in test results attained after taking standardized tests; hence, educational attainment and associated class achievement or lack thereof is the aspect of student abilities (Kao & Thompson, 2003). The implementation of strategic policies aiming at bridging the existing gap in student’s abilities in lieu of factoring racial dynamics has played a crucial role in promoting parity in the student’s abilities.

Therefore, an initiative to track students who have been absent from school for a designated period is a concerted effort aimed at facilitating education attainment for all, irrespective of their social backgrounds. In light of these, Kao and Thompson’s study illustrate student tracking as an instrumental aspect in bridging the gaps in student performances, despite their racial or ethnic influences. However, tracking of higher track students should be managed to prevent marginalization of lower track students, bearing in mind the inherent influences of racial and ethnic factors (Kao & Thompson, 2003). On the other hand, Hout depicts students’ abilities and skills in education as a reflection of their potential in development and improvement of their future lives, hence an elevation of class. He enforces the view that students illustrating higher abilities and skills are preferred as suitable candidates in the work environment (Hout, 2011). Hence, they reap significant social economic benefits, while those illustrating low abilities and displaying erratic educational tendencies remain in the confines of their social-economic limitations.

However, racial and ethnic cultural backgrounds have been observed as motivators for the exemplary performance amongst immigrant students. Kao and Thompson depict immigrant Asian children as the best achievers in academic terms, while the African American students indicate the poorest performance (Kao & Thompson, 2003). These disparities in performance are attributed to racial and social-cultural factors affecting the respective students and their family’s ethnic backgrounds. These aspects assert the view depicted in the article that despite the racial disparities, graduations have significantly improved, illustrating a changing trend in the American education perceptions.

However, the predicament of the African Americans is significantly different, in comparison to their ethnic counterparts. African American students indicate higher dropout rates in contrast to the immigrant ethnic students. The cultural perceptions of social and economic discrimination and segregation, despite attained educational levels, provide an arguable rationale for dropping out.

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