Based on family income and wealth, I belong to the middle social class. As it will be demonstrated later in this section, social class occupies an integral part of one’s potential of moving up the educational ladder.
Relationship of Social Class to Personal Journey in Education
Social class, described as a combination of family wealth, income, and occupation, influences the destiny of many individuals. Research has established that social class tends to create a favorable or unfavorable environment for education acquisition from the initial stages of a child’s development (Butler, 2016).Studies conducted by the American Psychological Association (2016) reveal that families from low socioeconomic backgrounds are less likely to support education as they do not possess the financial resources essential academic progression. Although other factors have both positive and negative impact on personal education, the class has played a vital role in my educational journey from kindergarten to college because of the ability to meet the financial demands of education. Also, social interactions offer the motivation to acquire a bachelor’s degree and later work in the criminal justice system.
My gender is female. This means that there are various issues one needs to overcome so as to achieve a successful status in personal occupation. As such, the occupation can be anticipated to play a role in influencing wealth and personal incomes.
Gender employment patterns indicate that occupational differences between men and women still exist in the US labor market. Research points to the choices of the members of each gender as one of the factors that influence the careers, hence employment disparities in occupation (Baxter, 2015).However, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (2016) posits that, in addition to race and ethnicity, gender is an important variable in wage disparities in the US labor force. Notably, Male-dominated occupations tend to pay more than those that are predominant with women at similar skills levels. Admittedly, these issues are likely to affect my employment and income in the labor market. But the conviction to advance personal knowledge for the fulfillment of career aspirations overshadows these labor issues. Moreover, family background offers the socioeconomic gearing to circumvent the adverse effects that might arise out of income disparities in the labor market.
I am Caucasian by ethnicity. Based on personal experiences and available literature, one’s ethnicity has a bearing on successful access to educational and occupational opportunities. Recent research shows that women occupy more than 50% of students in post-secondary education slots, but disparities abound across the ethnicities. This phenomenon is attributed to the complex socioeconomic and cultural factors that lead to reduced access to education as well as working in lower-paying jobs(Baxter,2015).At a personal level, I have not encountered impediments to education and occupational opportunities on the basis of my ethnicity.
Research has revealed realities of stagnation of a majority of Americans at the same class, especially those at the bottom of the human pile. Persons in the middle class and above are more likely to enjoy better health and live longer. This is partly due to the good jobs, money and better medical care. Also, the widening gap between social classes has the negative effect of self-image, stereotypes, and prejudice (Henslin, 2016; Zembroski, 2011).The higher the social class, the more likely people become independent. Conversely, the lower the socio-economic class, the more likely individuals, develop group-minded relationships (Henslin, 2011; DeAngelis, 2015).These demographic variations assert that social class is not about money or the schools one attends- it is all about how an individual feels, thinks and acts concerning social issues in the society. However, studies show that upward mobility is not a function of socioeconomic class alone. Cohen-Setton (2015) argues that cultural variations account for the behaviors and choices of people which in turn influence mobility.
Education and Religion
Education and Religion are some of the common forms of socialization. A study of Sacerdote and Glaeser (2008) shows that membership to social groups has a positive correlation with a rise in education. Religion receives a stronger attendance with an increase in education. The studies also found that persons who drop out of school are less likely to attend a religious gathering than educated individuals. The dropping out of school offers an insight into social misdemeanors that are common in school drop outs. According to Basu-Zharku (2011), religion enhances the connection of the youth with their families and, thus, enhances personal development in education and family values. Besides, religious practices tend to make people happier and healthier. Basu-Zharku argues that individuals with frequent religious attendance handle depressing situations based on their convictions and closer association with other fellow religious attendees and the community. However, education and religion have been found to show a negative relationship as one climbs the educational ladder. Research findings of Sacerdote and Glaeser (2008) reveal that advanced studies in science and math reduce the religiosity of people.
Understanding the influence of religion, education and socioeconomic inequalities is critical to the resolution of some of the problems that are inherent in the American society. From the discussion, it can be concluded that social class occupies a larger portion of the contributing factors to the issues such as crime and gang violence. Socioeconomic class influences behaviors, educational opportunities health, and socialization patterns of people in the society. For effective resolution of social problems, all stakeholders must appreciate the psychological impact of social classes. It should be, however, noted that class has been part of humanity for centuries and may never be eliminated. What is needed is an approach that mitigates the effects of living in disadvantaged classes.
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