Sociology: Changes in Social Values and their Effects on American Education


Social values are standards on certain societal aspects of human life. These values are dynamic, and it is without a doubt that they have a greater impact on education than meets the eye. Education is a key proponent in the society. Over the last 50 years or so, America has witnessed a change in social values which have had a great impact on the education. The paper seeks to explain how the social values have changed over the last 50 years, the effects of the changes in American education and possible solutions that needs to be adopted to rectify the social challenges facing schools.

Poverty is one the social concern in America. The gap between lowest and highest incomes in America has been widening over the last 50 years despite it being a first world nation. Social well-being and the state of the poor and marginalized populations have impacted negatively on the education of children. Children living in poverty have a higher number of school absenteeism and probably drop out of school in such of work so as to care for their family. Poverty eradication has however seen more students get the quality education. Allocation of grants, loans and subsidies have also helped reduce the burden to parents and promote education in these areas.

Racism has been a thorny issue for more than 50 years. This rift between the whites and black has affected especially the blacks. Their children have suffered racial discriminations which have led to psychological problems, lack of access to social amenities including health care and education. The American government through legal aspects, the goodwill of the American people and human right activists has managed to move a notch higher as far as racism is concerned. Currently, children can play together; everybody can interact freely regardless of their races, hold leadership positions among other things in common. This breakthrough has promoted education as children can get the quality education regardless of their races. The government needs to maintain laws that protect all races.

Religious perceptions have also been highlighted as a social factor in the education sector. American education system embraces the diversified cultural practices of the American people and thus different schools have incorporated the religious concepts in their education systems as a way of embracing and acknowledging different religions. There has been however some instances where students have to be taught diversified concepts about their religion. For instance is the origin of life which has been discussed evolutionary in different spiritual contexts based on religion and their beliefs. It is worth noting that acceptance of diversified religious views has influenced education especially when such contradictory comparisons are made on scientific perspectives. (Banks, et al. 2009). The unfair comparison has caused criticisms which are not healthy.

Government policies have some impact on education. In America, education has largely been globalized, and there has been an influx of foreign or international students. Refugees and immigrants have had chances to study. The introduction of the green cards also enhanced globalization of the education. The influx of international students and subsequent harsh comparison and criticism are considered setbacks in quality education. (Shor, I. 2012) With the entry president Trump’s administration, such policies have since been temporarily suspended and this may have an impact on education as those students from these countries already studying or had such plans may have no chances to do so.

Schools haveover the last years faced and still face some social issues which reduce the quality of education.

Drug and substance abuse

Substance abuse has posed serious problems to students. Students who fall victims to drug and substance abuse suffer a loss of memory and show poor performance in academics. To mollify these problem tough regulations should be put in place by local authorities and school administrations to stop the sale of drugs and possible acquisition. There should also be awareness campaigns to educate students on effects of these drugs.


Students often engage in practices that are immoral. This may be due to influence by fellow colleagues resulting in overindulgence in sexual immoralities that can lead to unwanted pregnancies. Such effects may force school drop outs or result in low performance in class. To mollify this, students need to be advised and counselled adequately.


Some students still fall victims of racism in class or their respective schools. As a result, they are demoralized and interferes with their psychological well-being. Such students end up performing poorly or feel reluctant to go to school. Some mechanisms school be put in place to enable students or citizens co-exist freely. Having proper awareness and laws in public domains can help reduce such problems. School administrations should generate activities like sports to promote co-existence.

In conclusion, it is clear that social values have affected education for the last 50 years or so. Since these social effects are dynamic, education is still prone to influence. We should, therefore, be flexible enough always to keep adapting to these changes for positive impacts.









Shor, I. (2012). Empowering education: Critical teaching for social change. University of Chicago Press.

Altbach, P. G., Gumport, P. J., & Berdahl, R. O. (Eds.). (2011). American higher education in the twenty-first century: Social, political, and economic challenges. JHU Press.

Inglehart, R. F., Basanez, M., & Moreno, A. (1998). Human values and beliefs. University of Michigan Press.

Banks, J. A., & Banks, C. A. M. (2009). Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives. John Wiley & Sons.