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Does Community Education Diminish Poverty or Not, Article Review Example

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Article Review

Within academic discourse and from a variety of different perspectives, such as sociological and empirical psychology, a hotly contested debate exists concerning the correlation or absence of correlation between poverty and education. One side of the discussion argues that education is the solution to poverty, insofar as education opens movement within the social structure, allowing for so-called social mobility, while also changing the educated individual’s image of the poor. (McWha and Carr, 2009, 101) On the other side of the discussion, the claim that is education is too facile a cure-all, since poverty is something that is symptomatic to the system itself: poverty cannot be eliminated by merely increasing access to education, but rather the system itself must be changed. (Esping-Anderson, 2004)

Education as a solution for poverty may take various forms. For example, education may be viewed as a particular means of providing “support for the poor” (McWha & Carr, 2009, p. 102). Such support in terms of education, however, is not necessarily a purely material support, but also psychological. Namely, education in this sense consists in “showing the situational context in which the poor are living and working.” (McWha & Carr, 2009, p. 102) Poverty through education is identified as the short-comings of the system, and therefore the logic behind poverty becomes clearer, allowing for its potential resolution.

From the other side of the debate, such an approach is not radical enough. Namely, such a thesis fails to address the permanence of the social contexts in which one is born, or as Epsing-Anderson phrases it, “the bad news is that we must basically confirm the constancy of social inheritance.” (2004) Social inheritance is not merely reducible to education, but to the advantageous position of the individual within society as a whole: societal structure itself must be changed through policy so as to diminish the influence of such social inheritance. (Epsing-Anderson, 2004)

In this regard, it certainly appears a simplification to consider education as the solution to systematic problems of family. This is essentially an endorsement of a system that produces inequalities, suggesting the system is fundamentally healthy and can eliminate social problems on its own. The critique of education as the cure-all for poverty does not perform such an easy reduction, and rather rightly turns our attention to the system itself as a source of the problem. Access to education is controlled by the system and therefore the social structure itself must be interrogated and analyzed for anti-poverty initiatives.

Works Cited

Esping-Anderson, G. (2004). Unequal Opportunities and Social Inheritance Policy Network Source. http://progressive-governance.net/php/print_preview.php?aid=85

McWha, I. & Carr, S.C. (2009). Images of Poverty and Attributions for Poverty: Does Higher

Education Moderate the Linkage? International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 14. 101-109.

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