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History and Society: How the Two Integrate in Education

Often, children groan at the mention of “Monday” and force themselves back into a repetitive cycle of classwork, tests, and a dragging school week. Education is how students receive structural instruction, usually within a school or university. However, education allows individuals to open themselves up to opportunities and different careers, offering them a chance at a quality life with a surplus of knowledge and skills. Before this education was available to all, it had to be fought for. Equality in education has its share of factors that influence it. Still, the specific events and regulation from our past and the current lifestyle we have assimilated into have made their marks on education as well.


History: How Does the Past Play Its Part?

Equality within education refers to all students receiving the same treatment and access to resources from the school system. This also includes equal access to various opportunities. However, throughout human history, equality has been challenged at certain points, specifically within the academic setting. Below is a list of court rulings and laws that have tampered with this:


  • Brown v. Board of Education: This historic Supreme Court case concluded that the “separate but equal” clause is a violation of the United States Constitution, and declared that segregation was unfair and harmful to black students.

  • Green v. County School Board: De facto segregation was still apparent in numerous schools throughout the US, even after Brown v. Board of Education. This case concluded that the idea of integrating public schools is not properly acknowledged by “freedom of choice” in which students can choose which school they attend.

  • Milken v. Bradley: This case was concentrated on desegregating schools in Detroit. However, several families from white districts that the court had no permission to impose the plan, claiming that it would cause a conflict with local control.


Issues regarding how students should be taught and what resources they are and should be offered have been a prevailing circumstance for years. Several times in history, people of color and minorities have faced difficulties in the representation they have received in the educational environment, and certain communities were forcibly rid of their own history and culture in order to conform to the settler's lifestyle.


Knowing history is vital to preventing such issues from occurring again and evaluating the solutions that have allowed the current youth to receive the favorable academic opportunities that they do.


Society: How Does Lifestyle Have Its Impact?

The society is an ordered community in which people live, communicate, and work. In terms of education, society plays a key role when it comes to factors such as designing class curriculums to training teachers. Additionally, education is continuously transformed by current politics, technology, and the overall culture.


Specifically, race and gender play the biggest role in inequality in education. In terms of race, black students have a higher chance of expulsion or suspension, punishment, a lower chance at receiving a spot in gifted programs and even receive less faith from their instructors. Schools in less privileged or minority-dominated areas are less likely to hire qualified teachers or even offer an adequate education in general, including certain classes and additional help.


Moreover, relating to gender, women have always faced discrimination. In certain areas of the world, young girls are sold off to marriages, preventing themselves from completing their education. However, at times, many girls are prohibited from even attending school, instead being pressured to learn from home. Gender empowerment has always been low regarding women as well. Throughout time, the idea that only men can achieve high levels of education and be employed in well-paying jobs has been constantly reinforced.


Inequality in Education: Two Prominent Factors

History shapes society and society shapes ideas and tools that affect education. To this day, inequality is a presiding problem in education and it is crucial that individuals begin to learn the impacts of the past and how current ideas are either harmful or helpful.



Works Cited

“Landmark US Cases Related to Equality of Opportunity in K-12 Education.” Equality of Opportunity and Education, edeq.stanford.edu/sections/section-4-lawsuits/landmark-us-cases-related-equality-opportunity-k-12-education#:~:text=The%20Supreme%20Court%20unanimously%20found,sanctioned%20segregation%20of%20public%20schools.&text=Although%20Brown%20v.

“History and Background: Equity in Education - ewa.org.” ewa.org, 2 Oct. 2023, ewa.org/issues/retraining/history-background-equity-education.

“Education and Society.” Department of Sociology, sociology.fas.harvard.edu/education-and-society.

Weir, Kirsten. “Inequality at School.” https://www.apa.org, www.apa.org/monitor/2016/11/cover-inequality-school#:~:text=Research%20shows%20that%20compared%20with,lower%20expectations%20from%20their%20teachers.




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