Essay about The Achievement Gap and Conflict Theory

Essay about The Achievement Gap and Conflict Theory

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Social Theory is multifaceted. It boasts ideals that expound upon society on a grand scale, and theories that dissect the minute actions of individuals that comprise their daily lives. These ranges of theoretical ideals prove beneficial when trying to unravel the complexities of society. Using theory as a framework or a guide, many societal plagues can be examined from the different perspectives that social theory has to offer. This multidimensional approach can be used in the achievement gap debate. The achievement gap is an enduring problem for society that has been a part of public education since it’s creaton. By using conflict theory and symbolic interactionalism, the achievement gap debate will be subject to macro and micro level interpretation.
THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP AND CONFLICT THEORY
According to George Ritzer (2008), conflict theorists see a societal system based on conflict and coercion by those in power. Ritzer’s perception of conflict theory is congruent with the achievement gap debate. The data revealed an economic and academic disparity between two or more groups of people. A disparity that spoke to the power-relations found in public education.
Lewis Coser stated, “in every type of social structure there are occasions for conflict, since individuals and subgroups are likely to make from time to time rival claims to scarce resources, prestige or power positions” (Kivisto 2011: 216-217). In the research done by William Glenn (2006), successful segregation litigaton was posivetly connected to the achievemnt gap. In these schools, parents and school leaders sought make claims to the resources provided to some students but not all. Vivian Ikpa (2003) did a similar study of the effects of resegregation on ...


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...tine may differ from impoverished ethnic minorities. Class similarities may create an understanding that is not easily deciphered by students of a lower socioeconomic background. Amy Orr (2003:298) states, “limitations can serve to disenfranchise an entire segment of the population, making it difficult for them for them to participate fully in such areas as politics and the economy.”
Conflict theory and Symbolic Interactionalism provide a useful guide to understanding the complexities of the achievement gap. The simultaneous inspection at the macro and micro level may provide interesting perceptions of the project at hand. The debate is ongoing, and research continues to unearth simalarities found in the data. As the debate continues, it is important to remember that the achievement gap has been an enduring problem for decades and will not be solved overnight.

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