However, education is becoming elusive for more and more people each year, especially for the working class. But then again, people classified as working class are not the only ones who encounter such difficulty. Even the middle class, at times including those in the upper echelon, have a hard time sending their kids to good schools that provide high quality education.
This paper discusses the factors that bring about this condition of education in the United States (US). In this paper, I intend to argue that rising income disparity and unbalanced funding system for schools are the primary reasons why it becomes harder for people who are not in the upper class of society to attend good schools. Apart from these, I assert that surging cost in relation to schooling and Americans’ mounting consumption rather than saving up for future investment such as education are also major factors that exacerbate the state of US education.
Since elementary and secondary schooling are mandated by law, college education is emphasized in the discussion. In the tertiary level, problems in education become more evident as students and families are more exposed to higher spending and more options.
In terms of income equality, the US ranks only 92nd is the world income distribution (“Wikipedia”). In the US, although income inequality rose more slowly during much of the 90’s, those with higher incomes continue to pull away, thus, widening the income gap. People with higher incomes are said to be concentrated in California and New York City. With higher earnings, people working in these states are more likely to get to good schools and perform well.
To illustrate this point, it is deemed that roughly 44% of the student population at Stanford University is comprised of people from California. Such may be somehow explained by the fact that those with higher incomes have greater allocation for education. Furthermore, due to the higher cost of living in these states, these people are probably more driven to land higher paying jobs to sustain their lifestyle. They seek better education since there are greater opportunities available in the labor market for highly educated individuals.
Moreover, it is seen that those in the upper class have greater chances of pursuing higher level of education. As at 2000, the percentage of families who are able to send their children to school with respect to their annual income is summarized as follows:
Annual Income Bracket
Percentage of People who are able to send their Children to College
(“Seattle Post Intelligencer“)
In the table above, it is seen that participation rates in college vary depending on total family income. People belonging to the upper income bracket are more likely to send their kids to schools. As we move down the income range, there are lesser families who can afford to send their children to school.
This trend is due to the fact that people with lower earnings would initially have to address their basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing. These bare essentials would have to be answered first prior to the cost of further schooling. If their disposable income is already depleted with their spending food, rent and clothes, then the children’s schooling are at times foregone.