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Sociology Essay Topics on Education

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Many students are interested in the sociology of education since it influences their lives every day! This lesson offers essay topics that help students approach education from a sociological perspective.

Writing About Educational Sociology

Are you trying to get your students engaged in thinking deeply and critically about the world around them? It can help to choose topics that are near and dear to their lives, and one such theme is education. Regardless of your students' specific circumstances, you know with certainty that they are involved in education!

Looking at education from a sociological perspective means thinking about how educational policies, philosophies, and practices are related to social systems and structures. Students will have to think critically about their own assumptions and make important connections between what they know from personal experience and what they learn from outside readings. The topics in this lesson offer diverse entry points for students to think about sociology and education.

Education and Socioeconomics

This section offers a series of questions that will help students write essays about the connection between education and social class, including economics as well as social status.

  • What do you see as the connection between the poverty level of a state or municipality and the quality of education available in that place? How do you make sense of this connection?
  • Analyze the relationship between a parent's educational level and the education their children are likely to attain. Describe what this relationship means to you or makes you think about policy and practice.
  • Name three specific ways a person's social status is influenced by education in this country. For each idea that you name, be as specific as possible in illustrating how exactly the connection works.
  • What are some of the ways that people have historically relied on education to lift themselves or their families out of poverty? What kinds of problems are solved as well as created by these historical narratives?
  • Write a persuasive essay arguing either that education can fix social inequality, or that fixing social inequality will improve education. For the viewpoint that you take up, give specific reasons and evidence that convince your readers that you are correct.
  • What are some of the concrete ways that you see socioeconomic inequality or injustice playing out in the education system in the United States, and how do you propose to solve them?

Education and Race

In this section, you will find questions oriented toward helping students think through the ways that race, culture, ethnicity, and education have been and continued to be intertwined.

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