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The Role Of Education And Poverty In Society

2499 words - 10 pages

It has been proven again and again that class has a huge impact on children’s success in school and education. The inequalities in our education system start as early as birth and continue through high school and even college. Typically, articles related to class and education fall under two distinct categories. One type says that better education will fix poverty and the other states that in order to fix education we need to fix poverty. The truth of the matter is that one will not fix the other, but rather they need to work together to be effective. In order to promote a democratic society in our public schools, there needs to be major improvements made in both of these categories.
Before this is addressed any further, it is important to have a solid understanding or definition of democracy and what it means to be a democratic society. According to John Dewey, there is a significant distinction between democracy as an institution and the concept or idea of democracy (Dewey, 1946). As an institution, democracy is a form of government founded on the basis that the people rule the nation. A democracy requires that the people have a say in their country’s decisions; however, democracy is more than just the structure and political systems of our government. It is also a way of living. In the forum, Katie Shedd presented a different definition of democracy that I found very accurate and encompassing. She defined democracy “as a system through which everyone benefits from the decisions that are made” (Shedd, 2014). In addition to what Katie said, we need to look at democracy as active participation in the community, but more importantly equal opportunity for all citizens. This is one of the most important aspects of a democratic society. So why is this important? How does this relate to social class in public schools? Social class has a direct relationship to democracy within schools. Poor children in public schools do not have an equal opportunity as those in higher classes; therefore, they are not living in a democratic society. This is an opinion that progressive democrats strongly agree with. They “have for decades pointed out that the children of the poor are not well-served by the public schools.” They say that there is no “real equality of opportunity because if there was, then the outcomes would be more equal” (Essential essay #6c, 2012, p. 5). As a result of this inequality, children living in poverty cannot be expected to actively participate in the community when their income affects nearly every aspect of their lives. Many times children living in poverty do not know where their next meal will come from or if they will get to eat dinner that night. Some are homeless and do not have a safe place to sleep at night. Many times these families and specifically these children are focusing on survival rather than performing well on their next mathematics or reading test. This also prevents them from having equal opportunity for success in...

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