Class and Education

Class differences often appear in schools and on college campuses, yet few resources exist for dealing with class issues in these settings. Class Action has specific resources for discussing class issues in both K-12 and college environments. Visit the Created Equal page to learn more about a unique curriculum designed to talk about class issues with youth or download our Talking Class on Campus flyer for more information about our work on college campuses.

Organizations Working on Class, Education and Social Change  

The Dream Program is a mentoring organization that pairs college students with youth from affordable housing neighborhoods. Our mentoring relationships empower children to lead healthy, productive lives.

Education for Liberation Network is a national coalition of teachers, community activists, researchers, youth and parents who believe a good education should teach people—particularly low-income youth and youth of color—how to understand and challenge the injustices their communities face. The network aims to help improve the practice of Education for Liberation by bringing people together to learn from each other’s experiences.

Institute for Higher Education Policy
Policy reports and studies from this non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to foster access and success in postsecondary education.

NYCoRE New York Collective of Radical Educators is a group of public school educators committed to fighting for social justice in our school system and society at large, by organizing and mobilizing teachers, developing curriculum, and working with community, parent, and student organizations.

Teaching for Change provides teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write and change the world. By drawing direct connections to real world issues, Teaching for Change encourages teachers and students to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens.

Teaching Tolerance (founded in 1991 by the Southern Poverty Law Center) is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children.

Y.O. Unlimited‘s mission is to empower and motivate young people so they  may gain the educational, employment, and career advancement necessary to be successful in the workforce, in the community, and in their lives.

The Young People’s Project envisions a day when every young person — regardless of ethnicity, gender, or class — has access to a high quality education and the skills, attributes, and community support s/he needs to successfully meet the challenges of their generation.

Zinn Education Project promotes and supports the use of Howard Zinn’s best-selling book A People’s History of the United States and other materials for teaching a people’s history in middle and high school classrooms across the country. The website offers more than 100 free, downloadable lessons and articles organized by theme, time period, and reading level.

531559_171230019696581_1747913217_nMedia Discussing Inequality and Education

RSA Animate video discussing some of the issues of the current education system. It highlights some of the ways that the education system creates and perpetuates inequality and devalues our youth.

Waiting for Superman. Dir. Davis Guggenheim. Paramount Vantage, 2010.

Literature related to Class and Education 

Problems with Schools & Education in the U.S.

Archer, L., Hutchings, M., & Ross, A. (2002). Higher Education and Social Class: Issues of Exclusion and Inclusion. New York, New York: RoutledgeFalmer. 

Ball, S.J. (2003). Class strategies and the education market: The middle classes and social advantage. London and New York: RoutledgeFalmer.

Bowen, W.G., Kurzweil, M.A., & Tobin, E.M. (2005). Equity and excellence in American Higher Education. Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press.

Brantlinger, E. (2003). Dividing Classes: How the Middle Class Negotiates and Rationalizes School Advantage. London and New York: RoutledgeFalmer.

Golden, D. (2006). The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges – and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates. New York, New York: Crown Publishers Inc. 

Kozol, J. (1991). Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools. New York, New York: Crown Publishers Inc. 

Lareau, A. (2000). Home Advantage: Social Class and Parental Intervention in Elementary School. Washington, D.C.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 

Lareau, A. (2011). Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life. Berkeley, California: University of California Press.

Van Galen, J. (2007). Late to Class: Social Class and Schooling in the New Economy. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press.

Solutions, Alternatives & Best Practices

Aries, E. (2008). Race and Class Matters at an Elite College. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Temple University Press.  

Bowen, W.,  Bok, D. & Loury, G. (2000). Shape of the River. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 

Brion-Meisels, G. et. al. (Ed.). (2010). Humanizing Education: Critical Alternatives to Reform. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard Educational Publishing Group. 

Compton-Lilly, C. (2004). Confronting Racism, Poverty, and Power: Classroom Strategies to Change the World. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann.

Hong, S. (2011). Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard Education Press.

Mapp, K. L. & Warren, M. R. (2011). A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform. New York, New York: Oxford University Press.