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Posted on August 17th, 2012, by

Social inequality is one of the major problems of the modern society. In spite of a tremendous progress, the society still remains unequal and people suffer from the lack of equal opportunities, while the social hierarchy persists.

Moreover, it is even possible to trace the widening gap between different categories of the population. For instance, the gap between the rich and the poor tends to grow consistently that provokes social conflicts and tension between the ruling elite and the class of dispossessed. At the same time, the nature of social inequality can be found in the lack of equal opportunities since, today, people have equal rights but the problem is that they cannot always exercise their rights. As a result, some people cannot benefit from their rights and are doomed to take the lower social position, while others can take the dominant position in the society since, due to certain circumstances, they have larger opportunities to exercise their rights. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the difference of opportunities people have in different fields, including education, employment, politics and many other fields. The social inequality leads to marginalization of those groups of people who have the least opportunities and rights, while those who are able to control the economic and political life of the country can not only benefit from the opportunity to exercise their rights, but they can also establish their own rules of the game which put them even in more advantageous position compared to the rest of the society. Such disparity naturally leads to the stratification of the society into different classes, which are normally defined as upper-, middle, and lower class, although the stratification can be more or less diverse.

Today, social inequality persists and one of the major challenges the modern society is currently facing is the inequality of education opportunities. In fact, the access to education, especially higher education, is limited.

Formally, people have the right and opportunity to study and get higher education, but, in actuality, it is obvious that many people are deprived of an opportunity to get higher education as well as school education of a high quality. For instance, a considerable part of American children do not have chances to enter colleges and universities. In this respect, the major cause of the lack of education opportunities and the lack of access to education is the economic disparity. To put it more precisely, it is obvious that poverty is still the major cause which prevents children from successful learning and getting higher education. It proves beyond a doubt that costs of the higher education in the USA are steadily growing and it gets to be more and more expensive to get a higher education. In such a situation, students from low-income families have little opportunities to enter colleges and universities, in spite of the numerous grants, state programs, and other measures undertaken the government to enlarge education opportunities and eliminate inequality in the educational domain. Obviously, students in low income families cannot afford learning at colleges and universities and, what is more, they have to start working at the early age. In such a way, the need to get a job to earn money for living is another cause which deprives students from low income families to get higher education.

Furthermore, it is important to take into consideration such factors as the quality of public education and the cultural background of students from low-income families. It is not a secret that the quality of education in public schools is consistently lower compared to private schools. At the same time, students from low-income families often attend public schools irregularly, while educators employed in public schools do not have normal conditions of work since classes are overcrowded, while the motivation to work well is low. As a result, the quality of education decreases dramatically. In addition, educators are often biased in regard to students from low-income families.

Often, they believe that such students have poor academic achievements and cannot succeed in learning, especially at the level of university. On the other hand, students from low-income families do not have family members who have already got a higher education. Hence, they do not even think of getting higher education as a possibility to change their life for better and get larger job opportunities.

Finally, it is worth mentioning the negative impact of the social environment since students from low-income families live in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. In fact, they confront violence and crimes regularly, which become a norm of their regular life. In such a situation, it is difficult to them to overcome the boundaries of their neighborhood, where they feel to be in a complete isolation from the rest of the society. As a result, they get accustomed to the idea that they are outcasts who have no chances to change their life, while education seems to be totally useless for those, who live in the neighborhood where violence and deaths are a norm.

At the same time, the problem of inequality of education opportunities has to be solved because this inequality enhances the social tension because it widens the gap between the rich and the poor not only on the basis of wealth but also on the basis of education. The latter means that the ruling elite become an intellectual elite which takes top positions in business and politics, while the poor are doomed to take semi- and low-qualified jobs, which gradually become extinct in the modern economy which becomes more and more technologically advanced.

However, the current efforts of policy-makers proved to be ineffective in closing the gap between students from low-income families and middle- and upper-class students. The educational inequality persists and a large part of students is deprived of education opportunities. The solution of the problem can be found only when the primary cause of the problem is eliminated. In this respect, economic disparity is apparently the major cause which engenders educational inequality. In order to eliminate the economic inequality, the support of the state is needed because the government should assist to the equal redistribution of wealth to enlarge education opportunities for the poor. In practical terms, this means that the state should improve the efficiency of the public education. The latter is possible on the condition of the better funding of public education. In this respect, the government alone cannot solve the problem. The involvement of the community is needed. It should be pointed out that the community should not necessarily sponsor public schools, for instance, but it should assist public schools to administer and manage school facilities and educate children. On the one hand, the community will allow educators to focus on the education process proper, while, on the other hand, the community will support children in their efforts to get education and children will be more responsible if they are supervised by respectable adults. In addition, the community involvement in the education process will unite the community and minimize the risk of violence and crimes since the community will guard and prevent children from victimization or committing crimes.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that social inequality is very dangerous because it engenders conflicts between different social groups which are in the unequal position. In such a situation, the deprived population naturally raises against the ruling elite in strife of better life. Therefore, it is important to prevent social conflicts through the implementation of policies which can lead to the elimination of inequalities and social disparity. In this respect, it should be said that educational inequality is particularly dangerous in the modern society because it deprives the poor from larger job opportunities. As a result, they are doomed to live in poverty their entire life. It proves beyond a doubt that as soon as their life becomes unbearable, the social inequality can lead to the outbreak of active social protests and riots or even revolution which would aim at the change of the existing social order for the just one. In fact, if the current policies and social disparity remain unchanged, they can lead to such dramatic social disaster in the future.

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