The Problem of Elitism in Schools and the Workplace

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Elitism is the belief in “concept of superiority: the belief that some people or things are inherently superior to others and deserve preeminence, preferential treatment, or higher rewards because of their superiority.” Academic elitism refers to the idea that in highly competitive academic environments only those individuals who are involved in scholarship are regarded as having worthwhile actions and ideas. Academic elitism proposes that those individuals who do not engage in such acts of scholarship are unimportant. Although, it is possible to value academia and scholarship without being an elitist, the elitist ideal is becoming more and more prevalent in both academic and non-academic sectors. This tendency toward academic elitism is most pronounced in highly competitive and highly regarded environments ranging from the local elementary school to the CUNY school system. The tendency towards academic elitism is noticeable in education, particularly in the systems of developed countries. More attention, time and resources are allotted to students who are perceived to be more intelligent than their counterparts, at an early age. This inequality tends to further separate the elite from the remainder of society. Systems that channel include upper class institutions, advanced classes, and other elite student groups. Countries with extensive private school systems also exemplify this trend. Academic elitism is a form of discrimination and therefore should not be allowed to continue the separation and dissent based upon perceived scholastic intelligence.
Elitism in elementary and middle school programs based upon academic ability begin at an early age. In America, children belonging to kindergarten through 5th grade are separated base...

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...te for the opportunity to New York City Department of Education’s elite public high schools, known as the “Specialized High Schools.” These eight institutions are said to provide “a critical pathway to opportunity for their graduates, many of whom go on to attend the country’s best colleges and universities and later become leaders in our nation’s economic, political, and civic life.” However, these are the same schools whom for over a decade have used the single factor -a student’s rank-order score on a 2.5 hour multiple choice test called the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) to determine the eligibility and population of their institutions.
Within the guidelines of this admissions policy, regardless of a student’s previous achievements ranging from straight A’s, perfect attendance or even high potential, the only factor that counts is their score.

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