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Poverty is the Main Cause of Social Class Differences in Educational Achievement

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Poverty is the Main Cause of Social Class Differences in Educational Achievement

This essay will assess the view that poverty is the main cause of

social class differences in educational achievement. There are many

causes of these differences which can be linked to cultural

deprivation, and will be discussed in this essay.

Material deprivation is lack of money and things which money can buy,

and is the main cause of poverty. Item B suggests that that this is

the main cause of social class differences in educational achievement

as it says that most truants come from poor working class backgrounds

and are less likely than their middle class counter parts to obtain a

good formal education.

Similarly, during the sixties sociologists believed that the low

attainment of many working class children resulted from material

deprivation. A middle class child would have access to many books,

internet access, extra tuition etc which would help them to attain

better grades. However working class pupils are more likely to live in

poor conditions and have an unhealthy diet which could lead to

tiredness and ill health.

In support of this a recent study by Machin 2003 suggested that

traditionally many working class students left school at an early age

because they were put off by the high costs of higher education, as

their parents couldn’t afford to support them. More recently even

though grants are available for students from low income families they

are still put off by the high costs.

From a different perspective sociologists such as douglas and sugarman

provide support for the cultural deprivation theory, which states that

the work...

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knowledge is privileged. As their culture is closer to that of the

school they are more likely to succeed.

A similar view is expresses by diane reay who studied social capital

and concluded that it is mothers who have the main influence on their

childs education. This is because middle class mothers have more

cultural capital and material capital- they have more qualifications

and information about how the educational system worked.

In conclusion there are many causes of social class differences in

educational achievement and poverty is one of them. It is important

because material capital ie books etc can be converted into high

qualifications. However cultural capital may have more of a

significance because middle classes naturally have more cultural

capital which can be converted into high salaries etc.
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