The socio-economic background people have influenced how they perceive life, the quality of education they will receive, and their chances of enjoying upward mobility during their lifetime. It is a commonplace that parents drawn from lower-socio-economic levels will tend to experience financial instability or lower levels of academic awareness. This scenario results in a ripple effect, where these parents will be unable to enhance the academic prosperity of their children. What this scenario means is the possibility of having history repeating itself in these children rises. The children of parents with low socioeconomic status will experience hindrances in their potential career paths, and this is also replicated in the networking opportunities these students will have. The unfortunate bit is these circumstances function to further widen the education gap between the minority students from lower social class compared to their white counterparts (majority) who hail from the upper-middle class. The education/achievement gap is noticeable in grades attained, the scores from standardized tests, course selection, and drop-out and college completion rates. Students of lower socioeconomic statuses are not afforded the same opportunities as their counterparts from upper and middle classes. However, if state and government funding were more prioritized towards education and the advancements of such students, then it would be pivotal in narrowing the achievement/education gap and further reduce the social inequality that continues to grapple many individuals in this society.
Social Inequality and its Importance on Children
Matters of social inequality are vital to consider because of the effects they cause. Children drawn from poor families suffer from the wounds of social inequality, especially because they tend to be fragile as a result of their situation (Moraes, 2017). These children are exposed to fearful and stressful circumstances, which are often a product of factors like violence, food insecurity, poor housing, and economic insecurities (Moraes, 2017).
Explanation of how individuals of different social classes often have different parenting styles that correlate to social inequality
Studies have shown that parenting styles may be determined by an individual’s social class, though this measure of the quality of parenting has been considered in other research work as being inadequate (Cunha & Heckman, 2009). Parenting has been shown by Cunha and Heckman (2009) to be very important despite the financial conditions a child is subjected to. Cunha and Heckman (2009) assert that high-quality parenting can be afforded to children, even when their families are struggling with financial insecurities. This observation is associated with the number of children who have managed to be successful despite being drawn from certain cultures and ethnicities who were raised in poverty (Cunha & Heckman, 2009). The explanation that has been put forward regarding this finding is the fact that these children are given strong encouragement by their devoted parents that inspires them to succeed in life and thus emerge from the snares of poverty (Cunha & Heckman, 2009).
Children from the middle and upper social classes are privileged, considering the investment and involvement they receive from their parents (Cunha & Heckman, 2009). Higher-income has also been shown to be instrumental in promoting good parenting (Cunha & Heckman, 2009).
The importance of early childhood education and how it can affect their involvement in school
Early childhood refers to the period between after birth, and just before a child starts kindergarten (National University, n.d). Early childhood is considered to be an essential part of a child’s life, considering this is the time when children learn to interact with their parents, teachers, peers, and other people. Early childhood education is still at its infancy in some areas, but it is gaining popularity at the same time (Vandenbroeck, Lenaerts, & Beblavý, 2018). The reason why early childhood education has recently experienced increased attention is linked to the benefits that have been attributed to it (Vandenbroeck et al., 2018). Scientific research indicates early childhood education affords children benefits drawn from the developmental, economic, social, and educational perspectives (Vandenbroeck et al., 2018).
The quality of early childhood education influences a child’s involvement in school (National University, n.d). Early childhood education is the time when children learn social and emotional skills, and when the learning is done successfully, the learning done during early childhood provides the necessary groundwork for children these individuals to learn as they proceed with their education (National University, n.d). Early childhood education is described to be more than preparation for primary school learning, because it results in outcomes that promote the holistic development of children, mainly when looking at their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical needs (National University, n.d). This further boosts the children’s foundation for lifelong learning and development (National University, n.d). Further, what this means is as children are being introduced to early childhood education, the broad benefits are felt in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math. A lasting impact on learning in these areas is felt in the long run (National University, n.d).
From the above insight, it is evident that early childhood education, which often occurs as a result of parental involvement in a child’s life, results in the promotion of the involvement of these children as they advance in school activities. Often, children with parents who are educated, they will tend to have parental involvement, including in their academics, which will further influence their future involvement and success in their academic works.
Explanation of how social inequality affects educational funding such as after school programs as well as extracurricular activities
Extensive research activities have shown that a child’s social class is one of the many factors that influence their future academic success (Garcia & Weiss, 2017). The gap of a child’s academic success as a result of their social class, as indicated by Garcia and Weiss (2017), will often take root in a child’s early years. This may go for the quality, the design, and funding of after school programs (Garcia & Weiss, 2017). After school activities amount to some aspects of child development, especially or individuals drawn from low-income families (Halpern, 2002; Cosden, Morrison, Gutierrez, & Brown, 2004). Despite the benefits that come with after-school activities, these programs are significantly affected by certain factors, including educational funding. Social inequality is one of the many factors that negatively affect educational funding.
Access to after-school activities in the U.S is becoming more unequal, and the aftermath is that that child from disadvantaged families suffers and they will continue to remain further behind (Wong, 2015). Income-based differences among families, as outlined by Wong (2015), influence extracurricular participation, and these differences go to influence later outcomes. The disparity based on social class worsens the already growing achievement gap (income), which means children from poor families will continue to remain behind in their academics and in life (Wong, 2015). While the children from upper and middle class continue to participate in after school programs (extracurricular activities), given that they will always be spotted being active in school clubs, and in sports, children from low social class tend to be disengaged because of their reduced participation rates in after school activities (Wong, 2015).
From the above comprehension, it is evident social inequality influences educational funding or after school programs. While middle and high-class individuals can afford to have their after-school programs funded, those drawn from low-class status are disconnected from these activities because they cannot afford to fund these programs. This finding means that only those children who can “pay-to-play” benefit in the long run, while those who cannot lag behind. With schools cutting extracurricular programs from the school budget because of their financial constraints that have also led to laying off custodians, halting classroom renovations, and furloughing classroom teachers, children from low-income families who need the extracurricular activities will are placed at a disadvantage (Snellman, Silva & Putnam, 2015). These children are then placed at risk of having poor grades, engaging in risky behavior, and being inspired and connected by their dangerous neighborhoods to participate in rogue activities (Snellman et al., 2015). This further man that individuals from low-income families will be robbed of their potential to effectively contribute to the world (Snellman et al., 2015).
Case Study of Principal Leadership for School-Community Collaboration
Summary of the Study
A case study pointed out by Sanders and Harvey (2002) drew its attention to the subject of community involvement as a means to enhance school improvement, especially for schools that serve the needs of the poor and minority students. Community partnerships, in this sense, are imperative in creating a challenging, responsive, and supportive learning environment for such students (Sanders & Harvey, 2002). School partnerships, as indicated by Sanders and Harvey (2002), were instrumental because they were used as vital strategies to offer school improvement, community development, and to promote family and school development.
The case study focused on an elementary school located in a high-reform district that was successful in developing strong connections with a wide array of organizations and community businesses as part of its family, school, and community partnerships (Sanders & Harvey, 2002). The case study, as pointed by Sanders and Harvey (2002), points out how certain factors were instrumental in helping the school create successful bridges with its community. This included factors like the school’s commitment to learning, the principal’s support and vision for enhancing community involvement, the level of the school’s receptivity to engaging in community involvement, and the school’s willingness to participate in effective two-way communication with the potential community partners regarding their level and kind of involvement (Sanders & Harvey, 2002).
What made the urban elementary school develop strong connections with community businesses and organizations as part of its program of school, community, and family partnerships?
The factors that made this urban school successful were the fact that it paid attention to some important factors, which will be looked at shortly. Sanders and Harvey (2002) determined that other schools that implemented community partnerships experienced certain barriers, which impairs their ability to be successful in the community partnership quests as it was the case with the elementary school studied by Sanders and Harvey (2002). Examples of these barriers included the lack of community partners, poor teacher participation as a result of burnout, lack of time, territorialism, a lack of focus, resource mingling, challenges with sharing information, and professional issues (Sanders & Harvey, 2002).
The school possibly understood the factors that made community partnerships infective and resorted to integrate certain factors that would make its partnerships more effective in creating successful and effective bridges with the community. Four factors the school integrated, which enabled the school be successful in building community bridges include the following: the principal’s support and vision for enhancing community involvement, the level of the school’s receptivity to engaging in community involvement, and the school’s willingness to participate in effective two-way communication with the potential community partners regarding their level and kind of involvement (Sanders & Harvey, 2002).
The difference between high reform schools and schools with more funding and how these resources aid the education/achievement gap
High reform schools, with the example of the one mentioned in the case study, differ with schools that enjoy more funding. Urban schools serving students drawn from high-risk communities, compared to schools that have more funding, experience the pressure of having to promote student achievement outcomes (Sanders & Harvey, 2002). These schools often experience the challenge of having to initiate partnerships with the communities and families without having additional personnel and funds without having clear guidance on how to establish, maintain and evaluate these partnerships (Sanders & Harvey, 2002). Because of this, these institutions end up not developing the kind of partnerships with the communities that would be of benefit to the students, families, schools, and the broader community (Sanders & Harvey, 2002). The implication of this is that the intention of the community partnerships being useful for the academic success of the minorities may be impaired (Sanders & Harvey, 2002). What this means is that the lack of, or limited resources in high reform schools compared to other urban schools, which have adequate funding, will continue to widen the education/achievement gap.
Replication of Evidence
Case studies whose findings support this article are the ones indicated in the Occasional paper by Spiri (2001). These case studies followed the principals in Philadelphia to understand their leadership roles in the reform process.
Secondary Education and Beyond
Research studies show high school dropout, and college completion rates for minority students coming from low-income families tend to be lower compared to that of their white upper-middle-class counterparts. The fast facts by NCES (2019) indicate a high school dropout rate for black (6.5%) and Hispanic (8.2%) youths was higher compared to their white counterparts (4.3%). When looking at the data on college completion rate, white students had top 2 completion rates at (64%), while black and Hispanic minorities had some of the lowest graduation rates at 54% and 40%, respectively. These findings go to show that social inequality exists among the races, where minorities have lower chances of academic excellence compared to their white counterparts.
First-generation college students differ in academic excellence compared to their continuing generation counterparts because they tend to be troubled by issues like financial instability, lack of familial support, lack of college readiness (Falcon, 2015). This amounts to poor college completion rates, compared to those students who have at least one parent with a 4-year degree (Falcon, 2015). The instance of poor college completion is often the case of individuals from low social class, whose parents had limited education opportunities.
College transition affects these students because their academic capability is greatly influenced. These students hail from low-income families, which means they attend low performing schools that are underfunded (Falcon, 2015). This further means the quality of education afforded to these students is poor, which also indicates they have poor academic preparation and fewer test scores (Falcon, 2015). This insight indicates the level of college persistence of these students, and academic success in college is likely to be impeded (Falcon, 2015). This shows the education gap influences the later success of individuals from low-income families who go to college.
In closing, it is vital to acknowledge the fact that individuals in society have different experiences, which further affects the advancements and resources they encounter. The above research has shown that people from lower social class, compared to their counterparts in the middle and upper class, have limited life experiences, which further influences their later outcomes because they have limitations in resources. For instance, parental involvement and investment in a child’s education are likely to be higher for a parent who is educated and who also enjoys economic security, compared to one who does not. In the end, the individuals classified as the haves will enjoy a wide range of opportunities and also be better placed at contributing to the world compared to the individuals classified as the haves not, who will often lag behind, appear to be disconnected, and disengaged with a progressing world.
After school activities are beneficial because they are associated with higher educational outcomes. When a child is denied such activities, children from poor families will continue to remain behind in their academics and in life compared to their counterparts from middle and high-end families.
Narrowing the education/achievement gap is an instrumental way of bringing the individuals from low class to the same level as individuals drawn from middle and high-class background. From the information provided in this comprehension, the education/achievement gap can be narrowed by promoting community partnerships, government funding, school program funding, and the reduction of certain policies (like the pay-to-play) policies, which restrict individuals, especially minorities from low-class families to engage in after-school activities thus exposing them to the snares of their current high-risk world.
Cosden, M., Morrison, G., Gutierrez, L., & Brown, M. (2004). The Effects of Homework Programs and After-School Activities on School Success. Theory Into Practice, 43(3), 220–226. DOI: 10.1207/s15430421tip4303_8
Cunha, F., & Heckman, J. (2009). The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human Development. E Economics of Inequality The Value of Early Childhood Education. DOI: 10.3386/w14695
Garcia, E., & Weiss, E. (2017). Education Inequalities at the School Starting Gate: Gaps, Trends, and Strategies to Address Them. Economic Policy Institute.
Falcon, L. (2015). BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS: FIRST-GENERATION COLLEGe STUDENTS AND COLLEGE SUCCESS. Retrieved from https://www.league.org/innovation-showcase/breaking-down-barriers-first-generation-college-students-and-college-success
Halpern, R. (2002). A Different Kind of Child Development Institution: The History of After-School Programs for Low-Income Children. Teachers College Record, 104(2), 178–211. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9620.00160
Moraes, F. L. (2017). The Harmful Effects of Inequality on Children. Retrieved from https://novakdjokovicfoundation.org/harmful-effects-inequality-children/
National University. (n.d).Why Is Early Childhood Education Important Retrieved from https://www.nu.edu/resources/why-is-early-childhood-education-important/#what-specific-outcomes-does-early-childhood-education-have-on-a-childs-future
NCES. (2019). Fast Facts. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16
Sanders, M. G., & Harvey, A. (2002). Beyond the School Walls: A Case Study of Principal Leadership for School-Community Collaboration. Teachers College Record, 104(7), 1345–1368. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9620.00206
Snellman, K., Silva, J. M., & Putnam, R. D. (2015). Inequity outside the Classroom: Growing Class Differences in Participation in Extracurricular Activities. Voices in urban education, 40, 7-14.
Spiri, M. H. (2001). School Leadership and Reform: Case Studies of Philadelphia Principals. Occasional Paper.
Vandenbroeck, M., Lenaerts, K., & Beblavý, M. (2018). Benefits of early childhood education and care and the conditions for obtaining them.
Wong, A. (2015). The Activity Gap. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/01/the-activity-gap/384961/