Social Class in the Classroom

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Social class has a large effect on the lifestyles of all Americans. But what does it really mean to be a part of the lower, middle or upper class? These divisions of social class are defined by aspects such as family income and lifestyle; however, education plays a large role in determining ones social class. That does not mean that it will determine success in ones life but to interpret, many people with a further education usually have a higher income as well. Those of the upper class have higher standards for education and career aspirations in contrast to those of the lower and middle class. Besides the differentiation of aspirations of the individuals of each social class, it is also used to determine who will go to college, depending on who can afford it or have no other priorities that can get in the way. There are approximately “20 percent of Americans in the lower class” (Long, Social Class Stratification, 18). In contrast with these 20% of Americans a long with the other 80% are a lot of differences when it comes to learning in the classroom. According to Lee Warren of Harvard University, “In many parts of the country, class differences are sharply defined by accent: people talk like the neighborhood they came from”(Class in the Classroom, 2) where as someone from a more “run-down” neighborhood might have a less sophisticated vocabulary, just because they do not speak that way on a daily basis. However, that is all stereotypical. People “wrongly anticipate the knowledge or potential of specific classes of children” and as a result “children from high-class families are sometimes viewed as being more intelligent than those from lower social classes” (Social Class-Effects 1), which is not right at all. The amount of mo... ... middle of paper ... ...tudents in high-poverty schools. Indeed, low-income students given a chance to attend more-affluent schools performed more than half a year better, on average, than middle income students who attend high-poverty schools” (Kahlenberg, Middle Class Schools for All 2). From this data, it is clear to see that the type of school is what matters most, not income. Ones social income class should not be used to determine their intelligence, but to only advertise their yearly salary. Social class is a determinant used to define where a family stands in terms of salary and socioeconomic status. However, it is used to determine what will be offered to the family, for example, the type of school that each child will attend. But what it does not determine is the success of that student’s education attainment. Money can buy a college education yet, it will not buy literacy.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how social class has a large effect on students' academic interests. students from lower socioeconomic status have different reactions to material presented and different interests in the material.
  • Explains that middle class students are less exposed to ‘the college world’ since there is no one to relate to. they receive more support at home and come to school more prepared for the work in class.
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