Schools and Inequality

Our education systems have grown over the past years. However, the systems are still faced with multiple problems, internal and external challenges. These challenges affect society and families but most educators. These challenges are contributed to by differences in many aspects, such as funding and conditions. This discussion elaborates on the inequalities inside and outside the school that affects students and recommendation on how to solve these challenges. The last section will discuss social or cultural concepts based on a case scenario.

Inequalities outside the school

School segregation is an outside-school issue that affects learners. Schools were segregated by law before 1954. These laws were enacted and practised by states and communities by dictating which schools African American and white children would attend. During that time, all schools were either white or black. How did this trend affect learners? Also known as De jure segregation impacted students since white schools received better funding than back schools (Russ, 2015). Quality education results from better resources or findings; if an institution does not receive sufficient funds, the school will likely fall short of infrastructure and other learning facilities translating to poor performance. Therefore, white schools performed better than black schools, giving white students more opportunities. The second inequality issue is the school choice program. The program by the government gives parents vouchers or certificates so they can use private schools for tuition. This program, however, gives a parent who cannot afford quality education an option they would not afford in the first place (Gimenez et al., 2017). This program was criticized for reduced enrollment in public schools hence their funding. Therefore, public schools receive poor funding to compete at the private school level hurting pupils who cannot afford or access the program’s benefits.

Inequalities inside the school

According to Kozol’s reading Savage Inequalities, the inequalities inside schools depict Suburban schools. The residents of Illinois, East St. Louis, are mainly African Americans who are mostly middle or low-class citizens. The schools in this area share common and general problems. Most of these schools had to shut down at some point due to sewerage blockage or overflow. Secondly, the schools use outdated science laboratories that has either insufficient or outdated facilities or both. Thirdly the schools are understaffed. For instance, from the reading, one history teacher was teaching over one hundred children with less than thirty old and torn books. Kozol also discovered that the schools had urinals in bad condition, the building’s glasses were broken, and bulbs were not functional. Lastly, the school gym had no showers, and one gym served seven classes. The conditions contrasted with schools in Chicago suburbs with an Olympic-sized swimming pool and seven gyms, and students could learn seven languages and play other games such as hokey and golf (Kozol, 2012). This demonstrates how inequalities in American schools affect children in poor neighbourhoods or low social classes who can not afford quality education.


Equity and fairness in education is not only a right that learners must enjoy, but it also extends to humanity. According to Cookson (2021), every child must be given a fair opportunity to get an equal and quality education to give them fair ground in the future job market. Unfortunately, students from high social class get a better education than low social class learners, primarily children of colour or racially different. This is the best explanation for why people of colour do not get equal job opportunities compared to white people.

Government representatives can be part of the solution to problems of inequalities affecting education systems and learners, as a Mayor of East St. Louis; a legislative representative and part of the committee that makes funding decisions, I would ensure that the schools have sufficient and equal funding so that none of the schools either privet or public school is advantaged over the other. Equality in the education system has not been made possible due to the inequality in funding; therefore, equal resources, facilities or materials will restore equality. Consequently, America will achieve the same education opportunity for all schools in the social context, giving students equal opportunities from the positive outcomes of education.

Social capital concept

The students are affected by the impact of social capital. The concept of social capital was coined in 1980 by James Coleman. He used this concept to explain how patterns and processes in social perspective contribute to disparities between different ethnic groups and how this affects students’ achievements. In this concept, Coleman implied that norms, obligations and expectations in education are an essential social capital in the community or a family. They affect academic success by affecting the level of parents’ or community engagement in education. Based on the scenario, parents, families and friends are not taking part or acting on their obligation to support the education process for these students because they have not been through college (Owens & Canadian, 2019). Therefore, the inactive participation of parents, family and friends in the education journey affects the students by lacking motivation or role models who went through college.

In conclusion, for students to have the same opportunity to reap successful educational results, there must be equality in education. Equity gives room to make adjustments to students who might require exceptional support and attention to excel in education.


Castro Aristizabal, G., Gimenez, G., & Pérez Ximénez-de-Embún, D. (2017). Desigualdades educativas en América Latina, PISA 2012: causas de las diferencias en desempeño escolar entre los colegios públicos y privados: Educational inequalities in Latin America, PISA 2012: causes of differences in school performance between public and private schools. Ministerio de Educación.

Cookson, P. W. (2021). United States of America: Contours of continuity and controversy in private schools. In Private schools in ten countries (pp. 57–84). Routledge.

Kozol, J. (2012). Savage inequalities: Children in America’s schools. Crown.

Krasny, M. E., Kalbacker, L., Stedman, R. C., & Russ, A. (2015). Measuring social capital among youth: applications in environmental education. Environmental education research21(1), 1–23. S

Owens, A., & Canadian, J. (2019). Social and spatial inequalities of educational opportunity: A portrait of schools serving high-and low-income neighbourhoods in US metropolitan areas. Urban Studies56(15), 3178–3197.

Author: Ian Morris
Find the Writer that Best Suits Your Objectives!