Explainining class differences in achievement Cultural deprivation theory blames the failings of the child on his/her background. This diverts the attention from the educational system which may contribute to, or account for, class differences in attainment. Cultural deprivation theorists argue that many working-class homes lack the books, educational toys and activities that would stimulate a child’s intellectual development. Bernstein and Young (1967) found that the way mothers think about and choose toys has an influence on their child’s intellectual development. Middle-class mothers are more likely to have more of an interest in their child’s intellectual development.
Allowing them obtain better paying job opportunities. Create more jobs with better benefits for low income families as well as a way to get a better education. As stated by Arloc (2005), in figure 1 below, exams done to the Census shows that the U.S public benefits system helps to reduce the poverty in nearly half of Americans. Some of these children may not develop well-mannered vocabulary due to the majority of their parents having difficulty speaking proper English. In a poor socioeconomic group, students are more likely to drop out of school; this happens since the environment around them does not allow them to achieve an academic goal or have parents who support them.
Cultural deprivation sociologists see three factors as accountable for working-class under-achievement. One such factor being the lack of intellectual stimulation. Working class families are less likely to give their children educational toys and activities that will stimulate their thinking and reasoning skills, and less likely to read them. This effects their intellectual development so that when they begin school they are at a disadvantage compared with middle-class children. Another factor responsible for working-class under-achievement is the restricted speech code.
The questionnaires asked questions about reading and TV viewing habits. The conclusion was that those that read complex fiction and watched documentaries for example developed a greater vocabulary and knowledge, thus doing better in school. However, working class parents often can’t support their children in the same way due to material deprivation, and therefore their children are more culturally deprived, this clearly shows that cultural factors are a main cause for social class differences in educational achievement. Use of language between different social classes is also under cultural deprivation and can cause educational achievement differences. Bernstein distinguishes between two speech codes that he associates with two social classes, one being the restricted code, which he commonly associates with the working class where they use one word answers or hand gestures to communicate.
He argues that this is due to working-class parents being less likely to support and encourage their child’s intellectual development at home, therefore they are intellectually deprived compared to the middle-class pupils they are at school with. Sociologists such as Douglas believe that working-class homes often lack the books, educational toys and activities that would stimulate a child’s intellectual development. Language is another factor that is believed to create a social class difference. Basil Bernstein (1975) identified a language difference between the middle-class and working-class. He said the working-class are more likely to use the ‘restricted code’ which include limited vocabulary and is based on the use of short and unfinished, grammatically simple sentences, whereas the middle-class are more likely to use the ‘elaborated code’ which includes a wider range of vocabulary and is based on longer and grammatically more complex sentences.
To label someone is to attach a meaning or a definition to them. This is studied by Interactionists. When looking at ethnic differences in achievement, studies show that teacher often see black and Asian pupils as being far from the ‘ideal’ pupil. These negative labels leads to ethnic minority pupils being treated differently, resulting in their low educational performance. Gillborn and Youdell (2000) found that teachers expected black pupils to present more discipline problems and misinterpreted their behaviour as threatening or as a challenge to authority.
Also they will have a weaker immune system causing them to miss school due to illness. They also believe material deprivation causes them to have less school resources such as books and pens so they have fewer opportunities to learn. They have no access to private schools and tuition. Pupils in private schools or having private tuition are proven to receive higher grades than those in public schools. This was supported by the National Child Development Study which found that children from low income households were an average of 9 months behind in their education compared to others.
Cultural factors have a profound effect on social class differences in educational achievement, as evidenced firstly by the research of Gibson and Asthana, who surmised that the lower or serving classes are more likely to suffer from material deprivation in their home life, which in turn may hold the children back if they are deprived such adequate resources as a computer, correct textbooks or even writing materials, this can inhibit a child’s educational potential severely, as can living in a smaller house; the consequence of this being that they will be much less likely to possess a private, quiet study area of their own. In extreme situations, it is possible for children may have an inferior diet and an improperly heated house, which could result in illness and unexpected absences from school, in turn lower grades result. According to the research, the effects of material deprivation are cumulative, creating a cycle of deprivation. This would suggest that home background surely influences a child’s education. Next, the amount of money one’s family possesses and the quality of area one lives in affects the quality of school one is able to enrol in and attend.
On the one hand it could be said that it is down to discrimination in schools that there is evidence of ethnic differences in educational achievement. One example of discrimination in schools is labelling and teacher racism. Interactionists focus on the different labels teachers give to children from different ethnic backgrounds. Their studies show that teachers often see black and Asian pupils as being far from the ‘ideal pupil’. For example black pupils are often seen as disruptive.
Just as some Hispanic students have difficulty getting help with their homework because there is not an English speaker at home to offer assistance. Minority students are more likely to come from low income households and poorer living areas resulting in the minority student to be more likely to attend poorly funded schools based on the districting patterns within the school system. Schools in lower income districts tend to employ less qualified 2 teachers and have fewer educational resources compared to students coming from middle and upper class families and homes. Many states have initiated several strategies to close the achievement gaps among children. Achievement gaps are being closely