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The Myth Of Meritocracy Essay

955 words - 4 pages

Does America work off of a meritocratic system? What is a meritocratic system? Meritocracy shares the similar ideals of the “American Dream”. The belief that opportunity for success is equally available for Americans. In a meritocracy, talent, hard work, and determination result in upward social mobility. Unfortunately, Meritocracy is nothing more than a myth. Poverty produces many obstacles and causes many setbacks for those of lower-classes trying to gain upward social mobility. Thus, it would be contradictory to state that America is the land of equal opportunity. Low-income communities face disadvantages and obstacles in their education, households, and workforce.
Education is the foundation to success and is the key to obtaining the “American Dream” that so many Americans strive for. The neighborhood in which a child is raised is the determining factor of the quality of education that the child will receive. Many low-income neighborhoods cannot provide the proper education that is needed because they are poverty stricken, which funds are not available for the school district. Therefore, resulting in budget cuts and fewer resources. Wealthy communities or school districts have the advantage of higher budget costs and more resources that help them succeed in school and ultimately increasing their social class. One example of this is the Los Angeles Unified School District. They are fortunate enough to receive funding to provide all of the children with iPads. This introduces the children to a whole new technological advancement in their education. The struggle for the poverty stricken communities contradicts the myth of America working of a meritocratic system.
Not only does the neighborhood in which a child is raised determine the advantages that are set forth upon them but the home environment in which they are raised does as well. A child being raised in a home where his parents neglect him and do not care how well he does in school, can cause a negative effects on his academic success. Also, in many low-income communities, parents are forced to work fulltime in order to provide food for their family, which prevents them from being home to monitor their children’s activities. A perfect example of this is a single mother raising two children on her own in a low-income community. In order for her to provide for her family, she is obligated to work two minimum-wage jobs. The two jobs being a graveyard shift at a hotel as a maid, and the second being a waitress during the day at the local diner. By doing this, the time she has with her children is restricted, and she cannot help them with their homework or even spend quality time with them. Also, children learn predominantly from example. Imagine a boy being raised by his parents, both of whom have obtained bachelor’s degrees and an older brother who just recently graduated from Harvard on an...

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