The world is getting advanced with each passing days, society is also moving in the same race. Still, there are some issues in society that has not been eradicated yet. Social inequality has a strong presence across the world from occupation to education, from wealth to power. The issues of social disparity are still prevalent in modern society and social stratification is one such social issue in the current era. Social Stratification refers to the categorization of the people of the society into different groups based on socio-economic factors like income, social status, occupation, derived power, education, gender and race (Gursky, 2019). In a nutshell, stratification is the social position of a person in society. Sometimes it is categorized into three social classes especially in the western world as upper class, middle class, and lower class. Further, each of these classes can be subdivided as upper stratum, middle stratum and lower stratum (Li 2017). Similarly, such issues exist in the education system and the school is not free from social stratification. The education system somehow promotes social stratification. This essay focuses on describing the role of schooling in social stratification and discusses the major possible ways to deal with this.
Karl Marx proposed his conflict theory in which he classified people into three classes: bourgeoisie and proletariat where the bourgeoisie are the owner of the industry and tools that are used for production whereas the proletariat is the labor who works for the bourgeoisie. In theory, Marx defined the bourgeoisie as the exploiter of the labor. They pay the labor enough to afford the food and get shelter under a roof. In consideration, the workers not even realized that they are being exploited instead they think whatever their owner does is of the best interest of the workers. Marx predicted that a time will come when the workers will realize that they have been exploited and they will stand united and will call for revolt to bring the revolution. After this, when everything will get settled down, the workers will have equal assets as others and there will be inequality in the society based on social classification and this will be the communist era (Bartos, 2002). Contrary to this, the prediction of Marx did not turn true and the social stratification is still present to date. According to Beetham (2018), Max Weber proposed a more advanced theory in this context and stated that owning a property like industry and tools is only a part of social class determiner. To define social status in its true sense, a person should have prestige, power and wealth apart from the property. Owning a property may bring prestige but then there are some other ways to get prestige like being an athlete or being intellectual. The power is the ability of a person to get anything done and it can be achieved by prestige. Moreover, prestige can bring power, property and wealth altogether.
Sociologists Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore described that stratification plays a vital role in society. There are numerous tasks in society that are cakewalk like serving food in a restaurant or sweeping the floor. On the other hand, some tasks require high intellectual power such as performing surgery or designing a monument. Thus, the person who performs such tasks must be entitled to the higher power, prestige and wealth. Davis and Moore have justified this by stating that unequal distribution encourages others to perform better and to challenges. The reward given for the task performed is important for society (Kerbo, 2017). Melvin Tumin has disagreed with Davis and Moore's theory. He pointed out that the job considered superior in Davis and Moore's theory is really important or they are important because of the reward associated with it (Veliz, 2017). Education is one of the determinants of the socioeconomic status like people who have passed the high school lies in one group and people who hold degree lies in another group. This is how people get classified in a society based on their qualification level. Moreover, the school system across the world has a disparity in quality and non- uniformity in the educational approach (Lawson, Hook & Farah, 2018). Similarly, people get a job according to their educational qualification. The poor people often get low quality of education due to the unaffordability of quality education and end up doing low payroll jobs. Moreover, wealthy people can afford quality education and they get higher-paying jobs in the society (Spaull, 2015).
According to Kretchmar and Zeichner (2016), education has been linked with the ideals of mass democracy. Many social reformers have given value to education because of their ability to provide a better future and career by developing their knowledge and aptitude. Though it has played an imperative role in closing the disparity it has not been successful in eradicating the inequalities in terms of power and wealth. Education is related to equality of opportunity, it is an opportunity to make someone achieve their social status. Even though education does not guarantee high status and position to each people in the society but is important to equalize the opportunity in three ways as giving the ability and knowledge required to make it successful in anything, by providing the knowledge and developing the aptitude and by providing a tolerant environment toward the religion, language, caste, and class (Berg, 2016). The education has given benefit to some of those backward class people but despite all these, there are many ways in which it has mounted the inequality such as accessibility to quality education to only those rich who were able to afford and making others deprived of this because of poor financial condition. Eventually, this makes those richer as they get higher paying job meanwhile the those poor gets low payroll job due to their poor education quality (Bennett and Vedder, 2015).
Mostafa (2015) defined that stratification in education and educational accomplishment is subject to social class, economic class, gender, physical or mental ability/ disability, individual preference, the methodology of the course, the approach of teachers and many others. The residential stratification will make the accessibility confined to the area it is situated in, hiring of better requires higher money thus, best teachers are hired by the wealthy school and considering the personal preferences the child may prefer of particular religion domination, particular gender, particular curriculum. Besides, these preferences are also related to a social class. The social stratification within the school is known as streaming. In a nutshell, it is the division of children into groups based on their merit. Johnston and Wildy, (2016) have stated that the bright children are grouped in a class and the weaker students in a class. Grouping of the student in this way has been argued consistently, academician and educational experts. Some claim that streaming the student in this way promotes free participation in a class to demonstrate one's ability whereas others claim that it is a good idea to put both bright and weak students together because the bright student will encourage the weak student. Also, it is a democratic way to educate children. The division of children according to their intellectual ability and aptitude is the reflection of the one test of intelligence and it is more advantageous to the student from a higher class. The student from high socio-economic is the one who gets more opportunity to learn at home and they get exposed to many things at their home or from their parents. Thus, testing the intelligence will be more advantageous to the student of the high class. The major impact of the streaming of the student is on their self-image and eventually at their performance.
The universal education can deplete the disparity of wealth and power by providing the skill development opportunity to the able young people and make them find a valuable place and position in society. All human being are born different and possesses a different level of intellectual ability. Despite these, the society can give equal opportunity to everyone to achieve their goals and aspirations in their life. Moreover, Bhopal and Preston, (2012) showed in their work that practices of teaching & learning every day do not include the already marginalized groups of students while the success of others. The Teacher who works in a climate where it pressurized to produce a better result, develop ability setting for the student, recurring assessment of the student, approaching behavior management of the student of low ability are commonplace. The students belong to a minority group in terms of race, caste or class often perform poor as compare to the majority group. This factor is not due to the system rather than their ability and more frequently they are misrepresented in the class. There are some ways in which a teacher can reduce this discrimination.
Teague (2017) suggested five ways for a teacher to eliminate inequality in the classroom. The first method is Rethink ability grouping: to organize the student group in a new way instead of old repetitive way and this will make them realize about their ability to achieve anything or perform any task but do not label anyone as incapable when he/she fails to perform as per the expectation. Second is Use appropriate language: in this practice, the student should be taught to use appropriate language while communicating within the class and the teacher should ensure that no student calling other with such name that will make the other feel insecure or bad in the class and the same should be practiced by the teacher itself. The third is to develop a relevant curriculum: Though it is not possible to make the curriculum relevant to all it is possible to consider the common preference among all. The teacher should ask each of the students about what do they want to learn in the class or what activity makes them feel excited and note down the responses given by all. The next suggestion is not to punish quickly: The teacher should avoid such treatment completely and try to sort out things through the conversation because the conversation is quite effective in behavior management or to explain and convince others. The final suggestion is nurturing relationships with them: In this way, the teacher can talk to all students and promote equality by making the low ability student feel equally treated by the teacher.
The same strategy must be incorporated into the policy of the school to ensure equal treatment to each of the students. Moreover, the schools should have criteria to select a student irrespective of their ability, social status of the family or race of the students (Malone, Nelson, and Van, 2001). To promote this, the government should give reservation to the student of poor ability to overcome these stratifications the government and schools should provide the scholarship to students from underprivileged class as financial aid (Barman & Pal, 2015). The schools should focus more on giving pragmatic exposure to the student instead of a merely theoretical approach. The Ivy-league and prestigious schools should take middle and lower class people apart from the elite class. The schools and government in many countries have implemented several policies to eliminate the differences among the students in terms of gender, caste, financial background and other such criteria. Unfortunately, there have barely any steps taken for eliminating the gap between bright and weak students and for this the school should make a policy to form a group including both weak and bright candidates and give the weaker student a chance to lead (Clerkin, 2018).
To conclude, it can be said that the stratification in the society that created the inequality in the society and uneven distribution of wealth and resources in the society is still a norm despite numerous movements and revolutions against this. There has been theory that has been proposed in this context but each of the theories is distinctive from each other in terms of the idea and assumption. Karl Mark proposed the theory for equal distribution of the wealth, Weber stated the importance of power and prestige apart from wealth, Davis and Moore justified the unequal distribution as the right thing for society and so on. Similarly, social stratification is still prevalent in the schools in the world that has a direct impact on society and it is also creating inequality in society. Upon which the school can take some measures to reduce the social stratification in society. Many steps have been taken in the past to eradicate cases such as caste, race and income disparity but there are very few measures against the disparity between bright and weak students.
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