One Country, Two Education Systems Based on Class

Matt Phillips in the Atlantic argues that “the American education system itself is actually an offshoot of an increasingly class-driven society.”

“Since the 1950s, American society has increasingly been segregated by socioeconomic status, with the percentage of the population considered middle-income steadily shrinking since 1970. The effects have clearly spilled over into schools.?”

“Such socioeconomic sorting causes all kinds of problems. Some are related to the schools themselves … But other issues transpire when school systems are segregated by class, too. Since children of low-income parents typically are less prepared for high school and get less guidance when preparing for college, these kids can benefit immensely from going to school with with kids whose parents are college-educated and know the ropes a bit better. Both types of problems are important … Peer influences were far stronger than school effects.”
“What’s worse, the effects of socioeconomic and racial segregation linger even for the students who do manage to make it to college. These strivers graduate at far lower rates than their counterparts from more affluent families.”

“Why? A number of universities and researchers speculate that a significant reason so many disadvantaged students fail to finish is that they feel that they don’t belong.”

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