The Notion of American Dream Developed In the U.S. Schools
Submitted by Sally Sanderson
As a national ethos of the United States, the notion of the American Dream defines the nation as a land of countless opportunities where everyone can achieve success through hard work. According to the notion, everyone has the potential of living a happy and successful life. However many people strongly believe that the entire structure of the American society belies the American Dream. They argue that with all the inequalities in social classes, race, and the ethnic groups have suggested that the American Dream is not attainable for all.
The great recession which hit the nation recently also led to the questioning of the premise of the American Dream. Much of the impact was felt by the working class as opposed to the upper and the middle class. A good number of Americans who lost their jobs either had high school education or less. And ever since then, employment among people who did not attend college has remained flat begging the question of the legitimacy of the American Dream.
Education and the American Dream
A great number of Americans agree with the fact that the surest way of achieving the American dream is through education; at least for those born in American. This however is not the case for immigrants who normally end up achieving the American dream without necessarily attending school in the U.S. Most of the immigrants believe that their door to achieving the American Dream is through free enterprise and economic opportunity.
The original notion of the American Dream has largely been supported by the government-sponsored education. Every American is in support of this considering the fact that education is hypothetically free for all causing the opportunities to become equally free. However, by letting the government educate us, in one way it diminishes freedom.
Even with the government attempt to provide free and equal education to all, the irony is that both elementary and secondary education is not exactly what is cracked up to be. There are schools up to now which are preventing kids from getting education that’s needed to achieve the American Dream. The education system is expected to continue sabotaging the efforts of young Americans who want to get educated and achieve this life long dream especially with the introduction of the confusing and ill-conceived new curriculum that’s based on Common Core State Standards.
The role played by schools in the attainment of the American Dream
Any good school in America should be in a position of helping its students achieve the American Dream. Every individual in America share in the belief that education can help one attain success even with all the challenges. Success can bare different meanings including: absolute success which essentially means reaching the threshold of being higher than where one started. This form of success is principle and available to everyone. At schools, students are taught this by being taken through the lessons about the skills on how to live satisfactory adult lives. By being taught how to achieve absolute success, students are slowly introduced to the notion of the American Dream.
One of the major elements to attaining the American Dream is hard work. Schools understand the importance of this and are continuously subjecting students to situations where this is tested. The school curriculum in itself is a test that requires hard work and dedication to attain success whereas giving students tough assignments that require homework help is also part and parcel of the shaping process which can only be rewarded through hard work.
The connection between higher education and the American Dream
With the continuing rise of college tuition fee, the American Dream has taken some hits. This trend has made stakeholders to put the issue of college productivity and affordability under scrutiny. The future of the America’s economic solely lie on the getting the tuition fees under control. This together with increasing the number of citizens with postsecondary degrees can help a lot to achieve the American dream.
In order to achieve the American Dream, postsecondary education is essential. According to research findings, by 2018, more than 60% of all American jobs will require someone with postsecondary education. As we speak, only 40% of Americans today have either an associate or a bachelor’s degree. Throughout America, most people believe that college education has come to replace high school diploma as the gateway to middle class.
Can the American Dream be saved?
There is a strong sense among Americans that the dream is not exactly what it used to be. Research has shown that currently in America, there is less opportunity and economic mobility as compared to other European countries. The same research also revealed that it is becoming harder for young Americans especially from poor backgrounds to move into middle class due to the high college costs. These together with the decline in economic mobility have contributed to the increase in income inequality.
We all know that the basic element of the American Dream is equal access to education. Education is the main lubricant to social and economic mobility. With the fact that many countries are currently doing better than the U.S. in education mobility, serious measures need to be taken to help save the education system if we want save the American Dream. Providing students with an equal access to education opportunities and lowering college tuition fees are seen as the best options to increasing education mobility in the United States.
By providing equal access to education, the gap existing between the rich and the poor can be breached to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to live a satisfactory life. We should not allow this dream to die because it one of our national ethos which has come to be recognized throughout the world. Let’s continue teaching the students this notion in school and equip them with all the necessary skills that can enable them attain success in live. Let the American Dream live on!
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