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Educational Access & Social Inequality

Many people consider education as a gateway to prosperity and social mobility. Education in the USA is among the most expensive and the most imperfect ones among developed countries. The most prominent issue in this sphere is an unequal access to education. The United States is one of those countries where education has influence on ones status, power, prestige, and level of income (Mujic, 2015). However, the number of cases of expulsions from schools or voluntarily refusing to finish high school is enormous in the USA (Cook, 2015). Therefore, it is obvious that social inequality is created and reproduced in educational institutions, which is rather noticeable due to race and class disparities in this sphere.

The problem of race is rather serious in the educational process of the USA. The percentage of expulsions among Asian and white Americans is low, while among Hispanic and African-Americans, it exceeds the minimum twofold (Mujic, 2015). In the USA, African-Americans face these problems since the beginning of their lives. If compared to White students, they are more often subjected to punishments, for instance, suspension from school, expulsion, and even arrest. Such disciplinary measures lead to the route from school to prison, which displaces children from the education system and pushes to the criminal justice one. Moreover, students who learn English as a second language are perceived in the American system of education as notoriously lagging behind the program. They can be expelled if the school has to write important state testing and the administration does not want to spoil statistics.

At the same time, there exists class inequality in the educational process of the USA. Specifically, much depends on the geographical location and the level of student’s family income but not on their potential or knowledge (Cook, 2015). The cost of education also varies, particularly in some districts there are only expensive private schools, and many people simply cannot afford to pay for them. In addition, if the education in a public school is free, there are almost no budget places at state universities. In the United States, the gap between the incomes of the richest citizens and the poorest ones is rather visible. Thus, economic inequality leads to the fact that the interests of low-income classes become unimportant for society as a whole (Hill, 2015). Consequently, the income of such classes depends on obtained education.

Without a proper education, building a good life is quite difficult. According to the research, families, in which parents have finished only high school, have a rather low and constantly decreasing income (Hill, 2015). The families of high school and college graduates have a gradual decrease in incomes. At the same time, the only group with growing income is the families of graduates of prestigious universities. Economists explain this by the fact that due to the process of globalization, it is very difficult to find a job with average earnings and an average level of qualification (Mujic, 2015). Moreover, an employer can offer only a low stagnant salary to people without qualifications. Only high-paid jobs allow people to make a profit. As a result, people who can afford themselves and their children to study at the university will always have an advantage over those who cannot do this.

The problem of class and race inequality in the USA has existed for a long time. The educational system of the United States, despite its popularity, has many disadvantages. Race and class disparities begin manifesting themselves since school times. Many students are deprived of prospects for better lives due to the absence of money or their skin color that is not white. Despite the fact that education should be a gateway to prosperity and equality, it remains unattainable for many people.


Cook, L. (2015, January 28). U.S. education: Still separate and unequal. U.S. News. Retrieved from

Hill, C. (2015, October 6). Income inequality and higher education. Retrieved from