The term social change refers to an alteration of human behavior. Social changes are caused by several factors, which include technology advancements, urbanization, modernization, ideologies, and politics. The American society has experience a significant change in social values over the past decades. Among these changes are gender equality, technology advancement, increased race relations, and family structure changes. Social changes shape a nation’s principal bodies such as legal, political, religious, and educational institutions. The structural changes in the United States (US) have had considerable impacts its education system; for example, industrialization has contributed to the increase in the educated labor force resulting into a rise in the employment rate and economic development. It, therefore, is essential to explore the changes in social values, and their effects on the education system. This will aid the description of the social issues facing schools and possible solutions.
Social values influence how individuals live and interact; however, people differ in how strongly they hold given values. An individual’s experience on various characteristics of a society facilitates the strengthening of given values. The US has experiences significant social changes owing to family structure changes. According to sociologists, the family unit is a fundamental entity that facilitates socialization. Examples of modern family structures in the US include blended, interracial, single parent, and same sex families. These family structures have consequently led to changes in the education system; schools are no longer discriminatory as they admit children from various backgrounds. Interracial marriages, for example, have contributed to a reduction in racial discriminations (Waugh, 2012). This has facilitated socialization in education institutions.
Technology advancement is a gradual social change that has characterized the American society over the decades. Technology has caused industrialization and modernization among other changes. Similarly, the education sector has incorporated technology in operations, in a quest to improve the quality of knowledge delivered to students. Examples of technology application in classrooms are the incorporation of learning and visual aids to help students acquire additional skills (Place, Ballenger, Wasonga, Piveral, & Edmonds, 2010). The use of technology in classrooms has generally improved the US education system. The students are learning in favorable environments while acquiring social and educational skills.
The American society has changed socially in terms of discrimination; such forms of discriminations as racial, religion, and gender have declined. There have been reduced racial prejudice cases, which have resulted in minimized skill and education discrepancies. Schools are now admitting students from different religions and genders as a sign of equality. Structural changes have also facilitated an optimal allocation of educational resources to various institutions, thereby improving the quality of education (Mizrahi & Dodd, 2013). Unjust structural forces, however, have contributed to a limited and lack of education among some members of the society. An example of such an unjust force is the deindustrialization on the minority groups in the US.
The US education system, however, faces several social challenges. These include insufficient funding, student health, parent involvement, family factors, bullying, and student attitudes. Public funding has been a significant barrier to progress in education institutions. Budget cuts by the government have resulted in problems within the education systems, especially public schools; less funding implies fewer staff and resources, and lower number of services to students. Student health concerns have also become a hurdle in the development of educational facilities (Waugh, 2012). Obesity, for example, has become prevalent among the young population in the US. Obesity is caused by poor eating habits and increases the risk of other conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. This results into academic issues such as absenteeism and poor performance that cripple the education system.
Family factors are social challenges facing the education system in the US. Family factors play a significant role in a school’s capacity to teach the students. Principals and other educational facilitators agree that what happens at home influences a student’s propensity to learn. Divorce and single parenthood are some of the social changes concerning the family unit that have occurred in the US during the past decades. These family changes affect a student; for example, children reared in broken marriages may be emotionally withdrawn at school, and this may affect their academic performance negatively. Parent involvement also determines the performance of students in a given school; foster parents, for example, often neglect children’s education. This is a social problem affecting schools and their performance.
The lack of adequate technology in some schools is another social challenge facing the education system in the US. Technology is essential in making organizational decisions and policies; school administrators endowed with technology skills are most likely to integrate educational technologies to school life. Most schools, however, lack inadequate technology, owing to insufficient funding. This has become a problem especially in public schools, who struggle to cope with competition from private ones (Sincar, 2013). Bullying is another social challenge experienced in schools across the US. Cyber bullying, for example, has become a significant problem affecting a considerable number of students in schools using technology for learning (Hinduja & Patchin, 2011).
The identification of these social problems facing schools in the US requires educators and lawmakers to come up with solutions, for the benefit of the students in these schools. The government, for example, should channel adequate funds to educational institutions to foster developments such as technology advancements. Parents should be encouraged to participate in their children’s education through trainings that educate them on the benefits of such involvement. Parent involvement also minimizes the chance of students contracting diseases and conditions such as obesity. School administrators should employ strict regulations to minimize bullying cases. The application of these solutions may mollify the problems that have plagued the education system.
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2011). Cyberbullying: A Review of the Legal Issues Facing Educators. Preventing School Failure, 55(2), 71-78.
Mizrahi, T., & Dodd, S. (2013). MSW Students' Perspectives on Social Work Goals and Social Activism Before and After Completing Graduate Education. Journal Of Social Work Education, 49(4), 580-600.
Place, A. W., Ballenger, J., Wasonga, T. A., Piveral, J., & Edmonds, C. (2010). Principals' perspectives of social justice in public schools. The International Journal of Educational Management, 24(6), 531-543.
Sincar, M. (2013). Challenges School Principals Facing in the Context of Technology Leadership. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 13(2), 1273-1284.
Waugh, D. (2012). The Issue Is the Control of Public Schools. Southern Cultures, 18(3), 76-94.