Meritocracy: Sociology and American Dream

Meritocracy: Sociology and American Dream

Saunders uses empirical data from the National Child Development Study to show that children who are bright and hard-working will succeed regardless of the social advantages or stagnated they may experience. In his estimation, Britain may be an unequal society, but it is a fair one. In response to such claims, Richard Breed and John Goldberg criticize Saunders On both theoretical and methodological grounds. The authors conclude that individual merit is certainly a contributing factor in determine individuals’ class positions, but that ‘class of origin’ remains a powerful influence.

According to Breed and Goldberg, children from disadvantaged must show more merit that those who are advantaged to acquire similar class positions. Page 303 Sociology the edition by Anthony Giddiness 2001 Blackwell Publishing Ltd Oxford UK Meritocracy – A system in which social positions are filled on the basis of individual merit and achievement, rather than ascribed criteria such as inherited wealth, sex or social background.

Peg 693 Schools and Society – info in blue book If the American Dream of meritocracy is our country promise, public education is what ensures that promise to all children. Education more than any institution is the system’s way of making certain that achievement is independently earned, not tied to one’s background. Peg 274 The American Dream does not guarantee that everyone will make it in America but it presumes that despite inequalities in their circumstances each individual will have a fair chance, an equal opportunity and no one will be unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged.

Given that we are born into different families with very different backgrounds, the system must provide some way to balance our opportunities. A major role of the institution of education is to do just that it is supposed to level out what is an initially uneven playing field. Peg 274 Education was viewed as the Great Equalizer making the American Dream real, and also as the key to the dream.

Education provides at least in theory a clear route to follow : if you work hard enough in school, then you can be anything, do anything, rise up to any level you choose. Peg 274 What was considered to be a “good school”? . Parents said that good schools had updated facilities and equipment, stimulating atmospheres and high- quality educational programs. They said they are safe, had teachers who are dedicated, small class sizes, computers, healthy environments and successful radiates who went on to excel academically and occupationally.

Peg 277 Sociology making sense of society 4th De – Marsh Keating Here we can see a continuation of Deuterium’s activist approach, with its emphasis on description rather than criticism. Its implication that education contributes towards a meritocracy system (in which pupils’ educational achievements are based only on ability and effort” has been severely challenged. As research has repeatedly highlighted the profound effects of social inequalities on educational outcomes.

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