Is education the solution to Social Inequality?
John Marsh argues against the common assumption that education is the main gateway to achieving social equality. Most researchers argue that education is the most effective way to alleviate poverty. He disputes this by going through poverty cases in History and the actual ways in which the problem was solved. Marsh confirms that today, those with more education earn more than those less education. He says that college education is still worth the effort of taking it. Those with higher education degrees earn considerably higher than those with lower education like college diplomas downwards. One reason why there is this variance in earning is the fact that education has always been perceived as connected to wealth by institutions and influential individuals(Marsh, 2011).
To put it into perspective, people forego work earnings to attend college. After graduation, they then make up for the money they missed during college by getting better paying jobs than those who did not go to college. Degree education consumes money and today, those with college education get preferential treatment in circumstances where there are job opportunities. Marsh argues however that massive degrees do not solve inequalities among populations. This is because, the American economy as is doesn’t require a majority with degrees because there are more jobs for those without higher degrees and a majority of workers in the states do not require college degrees to execute their duties(Marsh, 2011).
He also says that while the difference between earnings for the educated and those who are not have increased. The money that graduates earn is however still the same, compared to the eighties.He attributes the positive change in the payment rates to trade union‘s activity more than education.Industries in which salaries have remained stagnant can be attributed to lack of bargaining power.Marsh says that the top 1 percent of highest income earners earn 20 percent of total national income. It has become worse since the eighties, increasing inequalities. 65 percent of all growth in 6 years from 2001 was in the top 1 percent of earners. According to history, he says that policies that changed the trend in increase in poverty levels was more of friendlier welfare policies, better pay conditions as opposed to increasing education(Marsh, 2011).
While education is important in spurring democracy and participation in governance by the populace, it is not the best route to take when the goal is to reduce social inequalities. The poverty rates have always been reduced by actions other than increasing education. The degree to which marsh discredits the influence of education in social inequality reduction, is questionable. However, it is the truth.
Discussions about the best means to eliminate social inequalities have always attributed the rise in these inequalities to new immigrants pulling poverty levels done and a rise in the number of poor single mother families(Marsh, 2011). These parameters indeed have some influence on these levels but it is important to note that the number of poor people exceed the number of poor single mother families and poor immigrants combined. This means that there other factors besides the assumed ones. While education is important in the education of the populations and promotion of democracy, prominence has to be attached to welfare policies by the state towards the populations in order to efficiently eliminate social inequalities. (Marsh, 2011)
Marsh, J. (2011, December 4). [Radio broadcast].Listener Supported.