Social Class in Classroom

Published: 2021-08-01 15:15:08
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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 money one has, should not define how educated they are. “Education is based on learning specific skills, forming lifelong work habits and developing mature coping skills according to each students unique abilities” (FISD Career and Technical Education Center Handbook Addendum 4) not income and socioeconomic status.
Not only is it stereotypical that students who come from a lower class family, have a weaker vocabulary, but some tend to believe that their level of academic readiness can not measure up to those from a higher social class. As quoted from Lee Warren, “differing levels of preparation and academic sophistication can sometimes be attributed to class background and the quality of previous schooling” (Class in the Classroom 2). While the type of previous schooling and preparation for school can demonstrate a student’s ocioeconomic class background; In contrast, author Richard Rothstein argues in his article, “The Social and Economic Realities That Challenge All Schools” that: “the success of some lower class students proves nothing about the power of schools …between low-income and middle-class children…on average, the achievement of low-income students is below that of middle-class students, but there are always some middle-class students who achieve below typical low-income levels; similarly, some low-income students achieve above typical middle-class levels. Which demonstrates that the type of school a student attends can be effective towards their education, however, it is up to the student to take advantage of the education they are receiving. Just because an upper class student attends a school that has very high academic standards does not mean that they are smart. It just represents the type of school he or she went to. The student can be failing every single class, because it is so hard, while a lower income class student can be a valedictorian of his/her school.
To conclude, the type of school might display the student’s family income, however, grades are a different story. Anyone can be rich and quite blunt. Social class has a large effect on the students’ academic interests as well. In regards to that, it is also believed that those who come from the lower social class would have different academic interests in comparison to those of the upper class. In the article, “Class in the Classroom”, Warren interprets that “students from different class backgrounds can have very different reactions to material presented and very different interests in the material. ” (3).
When one goes off to college, they choose a major that best suits them and their interests, in some cases, “students from lower socioeconomic status families will disportionately select into majors with lower academic demands” (Siebens, Choice of Major and Continued Class Disadvantage in Higher Education 5);they are being pressured to do well in college and have to make sure that they will succeed because “disadvantaged students may be more sensitive to the risk of failure …students from low socioeconomic status families perceive their hazard of failure to be higher than others as well as…paying off tuition and fees, which are a large investment for these students”(Siebens, Choice of Major and Continued Class Disadvantage in Higher Education 4-5). Students of a lower socioeconomic status might choose what is portrayed as the “easiest major” just to get a degree, and most likely this person is probably the first out of his/her family to attend college, so the fact of getting a degree in any subject or field will be looked at as an accomplishment.
These students also have more trouble paying for college, unless they receive financial aid, but the ones who do not receive it will go out of their way to pay for school. One will have to take out loans and pay them back, which is not easy without a well paying, stable job—thus pursuing a baccalaureate degree. In the lower social class of the United States, there are many factors that are being used to differentiate this small group from the middle and upper class students. A common reason found amongst most lower class students is the lack of confidence they all carry. According to James Rhem of NTLF, from the article “Social Class and Student Learning”: “Students from working-class backgrounds often lack confidence.
They may have as much intelligence as students who come from wealth, but they see the world differently. They may, in fact, be more likely to lack academic skills and sophistication. They have less practice playing with ideas, conceptualizing and sometimes less practice in reading and writing. But even when they don’t lack skills, they often remain uncertain of themselves, stay quiet in class, pick low-risk courses, and settle on very practical majors without allowing themselves to dream of more” (2). In other words, “these students are less able to work the system” (Warren, Class in the Classroom 1) and this means that they have more trouble finding out what to do, in terms of helping themselves.
They are less exposed to ‘the college world” since there is no one these students can relate to—many other students from other socioeconomic status have some idea of what to do in college, because others who have attended college, such as siblings and parents, give proper advisement to these students, when help is needed—as a result of “being able to work the system”. Middle class students (in contrast to the lower income students) are the ones who are “fairly” more prepared. The middle class students, “on average, receive more support at home and come to school more prepared for the work in class”(Kahlenberg, Middle Class Schools for All 2). Because they receive more support at home, they will have more people to be there for them in a sense of advisement. Middle class students are more prepared (as stated previously), these students have more exposure, in other words, being able what to expect in class, or being able to keep up with the work. Besides aving lower self esteem, “these students tend to have a higher level of motivation; based on their own clear idea of what an education can and will do for them” (Rhem, Social Class and Student Learning 2). These students have a higher level of motivation and strong work ethic since they “can manage hair-raising schedules of work, family, and college, pulling off demands of each with grit and a clear sense of purpose”(Warren, Class in the Classroom 2); thus giving these students the “psychological tools” they need to survive through out college. Although they might be more motivated, majority of the time, they are stressed out because of other factors that can get in the way of studying, such as work or helping out the family. Lower class students are usually depended on more, because of the many chores that boost their work ethic.
In contrast to the middle and upper social class, the lower class students usually have larger priorities. Most of these students have to work while attending school, which can be a good and bad thing. On the bright side, students who work and go to college are more able to “value a higher education and know how to work hard” (Warren, Class in the Classroom 1) but on the other hand, “lower class students do drop out of college in higher rates then those of the middle and upper class” (Siebens, Choice of Major and Continued Class Disadvantage in Higher Education 4-5) because of the other priorities that become a burden on attending class and studying.
Many lower income students do not have enough money to pay for college, so there’s a chance they can also qualify for financial aid. According to the article, “Simplifying Financial Aid Process Improves College Access for Low-Income Students,” there are nearly “17,000 low income students that were not aware of financial aid forms and higher education costs and prevented attending college” (LOOK UP WEBSITE CITATION). The students, who are aware of the forms to fill out to receive financial aid, are lucky since they do not have to invest as much money as the middle and upper class students do for a college education. Middle class families have had an even more difficult time paying for college because they are often declined of financial aid.
While campaigning for office in 2000 and 2004, “President Bush promised to increase this assistance and give students “more access to and more choice in higher education” (The Middle Class Squeeze 8) although there has not been much change to increase the amount of financial aid given to lower and middle income class students. The advantage of getting the “governments money” to pay off college tuition is a huge factor in the amount of lower income class students who attend college. On the contrary, there are middle class students who also can not afford to pay $10,000+ tuition a year, but do not receive any aid. Students from upper class families usually have better advantages over those of the lower and middle class.
These students tend to be more “confident in their place, and are more likely to speak up in class”(Warren, Class in the Classroom 2) and the studies of Turner and Sewell indicate that “upper class students generally have higher career aspirations that make college going imperative as the means of realizing their future ambitions” (The Social Context of Ambition). Because the upper class students have parents that earn an upper class salary, they tend to “be ambitious and value success, community responsibility, hard work and excellence (Warren, Class in the Classroom 2). ” These students are ambitious, but they also succeed, as described by David H. Kamens of Northeastern University in the essay, “Social Class and College Dropout”: “With the exception of students from business families…academic success does tend to have more influence on students from high status families and less on those from lower class backgrounds.
Perhaps this is because their aspirations are high, though are not contingent on superior academic performance. “(11). Upper class students also have more exposure to the world around them. Since majority of these students come from families of a large income, they can afford to Do we have to blame ones social class for the amount of education he or she receives? Absolutely not! One factor that can affect a person’s education attainment is the type of school they attended. According to the 2005 statistics in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, “given to fourth graders in math, for example, low-income students attending more affluent schools were almost two years ahead of low-income students 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.

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