Equality Of Opportunity In Gerald Cohen's Why Not Socialism

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Question 3: In Gerald Cohen’s Why Not Socialism, he discusses three types of equality of opportunity: bourgeois equality of opportunity, left-liberal equality of opportunity, and socialist equality of opportunity. Bourgeois equality of opportunity advocates for removal of, “socially constructed status restrictions, both formal and informal, on life chances” (Cohen, 15). Cohen explains formal and informal restrictions using the examples of serfdom in feudal times and the impact of race on life chances today. Left-liberal equality of opportunity builds off of bourgeois equality of opportunity, promoting the removal of social disadvantages such as socioeconomic status (Cohen, 16). Welfare programs are a result of the left-liberal equality of …show more content…
Children of professional families hear about eleven million words per year, while children of working-class parents hear six million and children whose families are on welfare hear three million words per year. By the time children attend kindergarten, children of professional families have heard, on average, thirty-two million more words than children from families receiving welfare benefits (Boyce, 2). Additionally, in kindergarten classrooms, a social order is established quickly and is highly correlated to socioeconomic class. Students who are considered to be of lower social standing have increased risks of depression, more classroom inattention, poorer peer relationships, and lower academic competence (Boyce, 2). As school progresses, minority students sometimes react negatively to what they perceive to be outcomes unlikely for them to achieve. For example, in some schools, poor black students develop “oppositional culture” to deprecate students who work hard in school by accusing them of “acting white” (Small et al., 10). The consequences of social standing in kindergarten has been tied to socioeconomic status and has lasting effects, as friendships grow and remain steady through grade school and learning and study habits …show more content…
Lareau discusses the influence of family background on children’s educational experiences and attainment, as her research found that socioeconomic status largely influences the quality and quantity of parent interaction with their children’s schooling. Lower socioeconomic status parents are generally uncomfortable interacting with teachers and administrators (Lareau, 75). As a result of this timidity and lack of educational success themselves, parents of lower socioeconomic status often take a passive role in their children’s education. To contrast, parents of higher socioeconomic status are comfortable communicating with teachers and administrators, especially to advocate for their children’s success. These parents are also more familiar with the class room dynamics; they have more flexible work hours, allowing them to hear about their children’s days after school or even to volunteer in the classroom (Lareau, 76). Additionally, these parents have more disposable income thus allowing them to hire help to bridge knowledge gaps their children may

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