Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Education levels the playing field?

nbnguyen's picture

When I was a kid, my father and teachers always told me the same thing "Schooling is the only way to succeed". "Succeed" means wealth, high social status and public recognition. Newspapers were filled successful stories of people who raised themselves from poverty to opulence by studying hard, being determined and gaining advanced degrees. I believe many people in the US have the same expectation that education may help the poor overcome their situations. That's why their policies favor the diversity and finacial aids occupies a large part of the college's budget. Yes, it's true that a person, with a decent degree, can get a high-paid job and be in middle class.

However, just to some very determined and very talented people, education can level the playing field. In most cases, it can. Rich people always have better access to schooling than the rest of the community. Some educational systems favor the rich by high tuition fees. In some private schools, poor kids are somehow marginalized and forced to lose their identity (It was described by Bell Hooks). High socioeconomic status allows the rich to go to college and succeed. The successful kids can continue to maintain their social standing. Their children continue to receive the benefits of education. It can happen as a cycle. Education in this case is the tool to maintain the unfair social order.