"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."
― John Dewey
― John Dewey
If there is one thing that makes or breaks an individual, it is his education. Schools, where children study, learn, and prepare for life, therefore need to provide the right kind of environment so that students can get a proper education.
Students are taught languages, mathematics, science, history, and a number of other subjects in school. They get to participate in sports activities, socialize with their peers, and learn how to adapt themselves in different social situations. However, an impediment in the path of child development at schools, comes by way of the various social issues that plague our education system. Let us take a look at what these issues are in the following section.
Social Issues in Education
Society has changed considerably in the last few decades. Today, the divorce rate is very high in America and many school-going children are brought up in single parent families. Growing up in broken homes can adversely affect the emotional health of a student and it may thus lower his performance at school. However, even when children are brought up in homes where both parents are present, it's not necessary that their emotional needs will be met, since in majority of families today, both the parents are working.
Children belonging to certain ethnic groups, are wrongly judged as being slower learners when compared to other races. This is, of course, not true, because one's learning ability is not directly related to their ethnicity. However, due to social or even geographical factors, children from certain ethnic groups lack adequate exposure to sources of learning. Also, there are several other stereotypes that have been attached to specific races, which puts the children belonging to them at risk of developing low self-esteem.
Another social issue in education is the differential treatment provided on the basis of gender. In certain sections of the society, girls are provided lesser opportunities for studying, in comparison to boys. Expectations from girls to score high in studies or study further are less as well.
Some social issues arise due to the economic strata a student belongs to. Students who belong to poor families are most likely to attend public schools. These schools are, however, not as well equipped with technology as private schools. This then automatically puts them at a disadvantage when compared to other students who go to private schools.
Students belonging to immigrant families, may not be well versed with the English language. This creates a barrier in communication between students and teachers and thus, such students are not able to receive proper education.
There are certain other ethical issues in education which affect students. For example, whether to allow cell phones in school or not, should school uniforms be made compulsory, etc.
Impact of Social Issues in Education
According to the Education Research Center, United States, around 7,000 high school students drop out of school every day. The high drop out rates are propelled by social issues in education as mentioned above. These issues basically have two forms of impact―first, the student's performance suffers, and second, the teacher starts having different expectations for different students, which then means that her attitude and tendency to help students changes. That's why certain political issues on education have been raised to deal with these social problems.
The government is running various bilingual programs in schools to benefit a majority of students who belong to immigrant families. This helps them learn English and other subjects faster. Secondly, the government has come up with "private-school vouchers", with the help of which, students who attend public schools can attend private schools to get a chance at better education.
Some current issues in education with regards to politics that require immediate attention by policy makers are―providing family and medical leave to all working parents so that they can spend quality time with their children, providing financial support to low-income families and single mothers, giving scholarships to teachers to study further, as well as running training programs for them, and taking steps to prevent the spread of HIV, STDs among adolescents.
In order to tackle these issues, the government has to make certain policies and see to it that they are implemented properly. Besides political will, a change in society's attitude is needed too. Only this will ensure that these issues do not arise any further.