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Chapter 20

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Education
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
EDUCATION:
A GLOBAL SURVEY
Education vs. Schooling
• Education
– The social institution through which
society provides its members with:
В» important knowledge, including
basic facts,
В» job skills, and
В» cultural norms and values.
• Schooling
– Formal instruction under the direction
of specially trained teachers.
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
Schooling &
Economic
Development
• The extent of schooling in any
society is directly linked to its
level of economic
development.
• Low & middle income
countries –
Education is a matter of what
parents and community
members can teach the
children.
• Ancient Greece пѓ wealthy
people don’t need to work пѓ go to school.
Schooling &
Economic
Development
• In the world’s
poorest countries,
only ВЅ of children go
to school.
• World-wide, only ½
of children make it to
secondary school.
• 1/3 of world’s people
cannot read or write.
• Many poor children
must work for
income instead of
focusing on
education.
Schooling in India
•
•
•
•
•
•
Indians earn 8% of US average
income.
Child labor has been outlawed but
children are still working in factories.
– 60 hours a week
81% of Indian children complete
primary school.
– Teacher-student ratio ~ 1:60
<1/2 go to secondary school
39% illiteracy rate
Patriarchy shaped Indian education.
– More likely to invest in schooling
of boys than girls.
– Parent must provide a dowry to
groom’s family.
– Girl’s work will support groom’s
family.
– 30% of girls go to secondary
school
– Many work in factories so parents
can benefit.
Schooling in Japan
• 1872 – mandatory education
• Today, Japan’s educational
system produces some of the
world’s highest achievers.
• Early grades – teach tradition
• Teens take competitive exams.
– Decide the future of all
Japanese students.
• 96% graduation rate (US 85%)
• 50% go to college (based on
personal ability shown through
exam scores)
– 62% in US go to college
• Japanese students outperform
all other students in fields such
as science and math.
Schooling in
Great Britain
• In the Middle Ages, schooling
was a privilege of British
nobility.
• Industrial Revolution led to
the need for an educated
working class.
• The government will help pay
for the education of high
scorers on entrance exams.
• Wealthy families, whose kids
did not score well, still
manage to send their kids to
prestigious schools like
Oxford or Cambridge.
– пѓ high government
positions
Schooling in the
United States
• 1918 – Mandatory Education Law
• US education system – shaped by our
high standard of living & democratic
principles (young people shouldn’t
work & everyone should receive an
education).
• Today
– 4/5 – High school education
– ¼ - 4 year degree
• Highest number of adults with
university degrees.
• Stress the value of practical learning
(providing job skills).
THE FUNCTIONS OF
SCHOOLING
Functions of Schooling
• Socialization
– Primary schooling
• Basic language and mathematical skills
– Secondary schooling
• Expansion of basic skills to include the
transmission of cultural values and norms.
• Cultural innovation
– Creating and transmitting culture
• Social integration
– Brings a diverse nation together
• Social placement
– Increases meritocracy
• Rewards talent and hard work
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
Latent Functions of Schooling
• Schools as child-care providers.
• Engages young people at a time in
their lives when jobs are not plentiful.
• Sets the stage for establishing
relationships & networks.
• http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/front
line/shows/divided/etc/view.html
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
SCHOOLING AND
SOCIAL INEQUALITY
Schooling & Social Inequality
• Social control
– Mandatory education laws encourage compliance,
following directions, and discipline.
– Hidden curriculum – subtle presentations of
political or cultural ideas in the classroom.
• Standardized testing
– Measures logical reasoning.
– Camry is to Toyota as _____________ is to Cadillac.
A. Cobalt B. Lexus C. Escalade D. Highlander
– Is the question biased?
– If so, who is at a disadvantage?
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
Schooling & Social Inequality
•
•
School tracking
– Assigning students to different types of education
programs (college prep, gen ed, vocational, etc.)
• Does it segregate students into winners and losers?
– Tracking supposedly helps teachers meet each student’s
individual needs.
• Kozol argued that unequal funding makes some
schools better than others.
– Privileged students do better on standardized tests
and get into higher tracks, where they receive the
best the school can offer.
Inequality between schools
– Public vs. Private schools
• Small classes, greater discipline & harder coursework
– Suburban vs. Urban districts
• Funding
• Busing – Is it a fix?
Social Capital
• According to the Coleman report:
• Even if school funding was the same
everywhere, students who benefit more
from social capital would still perform
better.
– Those whose parents:
• Value schooling
• Read to their children
• Encourage the development of imagination
Access to Higher Education
• Money is the largest stumbling block to higher
education.
• Family income is still best predictor for college
attendance.
– Families making at least $75,000 send 64% of
their children to college.
– Families making under $20,000 send 27% of
their children to college.
• On average, a person with a college degree will
add almost $500,000 to his or her earnings over
a lifetime.
• 2004 study – Men with an 8th grade education
earn ~$22,000; high school education
~$36,000;college graduate ~$57,000 per year.
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
National Map 20-1 (p. 533)
Teachers’ Salaries across the United States
In 2004, the average public school teacher in the U.S. earned
$46,752. The map shows the average teacher salary for all the
states; they range from a low of $33,236 in South Dakota to a high
of $57,337 in Connecticut. Looking at the map, what pattern do you
see? What do high-salary (and low-salary) states have in common?
Source: National Education Association, Rankings and Estimates Rankings of the States and Estimate
of School of School Statistics 2004. Washington, D.C., NEA, 2004, p. 19.
Figure 20-1 (p. 535)
Home and School Environments: Effects on Learning
Because children spend only 13 percent of their waking hours in
school, the home environment has a greater effect on learning than
the school environment. Schools–even poor ones–help to narrow
the learning gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children,
but they are not able to close the gap completely.
Source: D. B. Downey, P.T. von Hippel, and B. A. Broh, “Are Schools the Great Equalizer?”, American
Sociological Review, vol. 69 no. 5 (October 2004), p. 614, Fig. 1. Reprinted by permission.
Figure 20-2 (p. 536)
College Attendance and Family Income, 2002
The higher a family’s income, the more likely it is that children will
attend college.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau (2004).
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
Community Colleges
• Why are community colleges important?
• 1. Low tuition rates increase the likelihood
of first generation college students to go to
college.
• 2. Enroll almost 40% of college students.
• 3. ½ of all African Americans and
Hispanics attend community colleges.
• 4. Teaching is the top priority of faculty
members (not conducting research).
PROBLEMS IN THE
SCHOOLS
Problems in Schools
• School discipline
– Many believe schools need to teach discipline
because it isn’t addressed within the home setting.
• Violence in schools
– Students and teachers are assaulted.
– Weapons are brought to school.
– Society’s problems spill into schools.
• Answer
–
–
–
–
Adjust attitudes so learning is the focus.
Skillful and committed teaching.
Firm disciplinary standards enforced.
Administrative and parental support .
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
Student Passivity
• Students are BORED!
• Theodore Sizer’s five ways large, bureaucratic schools
undermine education:
• Rigid uniformity
– Insensitive to cultural character of community
• Numerical ratings
– Success defined in terms of numbers on test scores
• Rigid expectations
– Age and grade level expectations
• What about those who have exceeded the expectations?
• Specialization
– Many courses, many teachers
– Teachers don’t get to know students
• Little individual responsibility
– Little empowerment to learn on one’s own
DISCUSSION QUESTION
• What factors do you think
are responsible for
widespread student
passivity in the
classroom?
The “Silent” Classroom
• The norm is to not talk in a college class, and
students can get upset at others who talk “too
much”.
• No matter what the class size
– Only a handful of students speak
• Passivity is the norm
– It is deviant to speak up in class
• What makes a difference?
– Female instructors tend to call on men and
women equally, whereas male instructors
tend to call on men.
• Reasons
– Students are conditioned to listen
– Instructors come to class with lectures
prepared and students do not wish to get
sidetracked.
Apathetic Students
• Many students expect learning to be
delivered and don’t realize they are part of
the process.
• Apathy is high among students.
• Reasons:
– Television
– Parents
– Schools
– Other students
• High tech may hold one key for sparking
interest.
– Bringing multimedia into the classroom.
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
DISCUSSION QUESTION
• Are parents too quick to place
the blame on teachers today?
Dropping Out
• 10% between 16 & 24 have dropped out of
high school --- 3.8 million.
• Hispanics drop out more than African
Americans; African Americans drop out
more than Caucasians.
• Why?
– Problems with English language, pregnancy, or
work to support the family.
Academic Standards
• A Nation at Risk - a 1983, governmental commission
– Troublesome findings concerning what students are
and are not learning in school.
• 40% of those screened could not draw inferences
from written materials.
• 33% of those screened could complete multi-step
mathematical problems.
• Other insights
– Functional illiteracy – a lack of reading and writing
skills needed for everyday living.
• Many teens leave school without having learned basic
skills.
– Lack of interest in the importance of education
apathetic attitudes toward classes, course materials,
doing assignments, and attendance.
– Belief that good grades need not be “earned,” but
rather just rewarded (as if they had a right to them).
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
Academic Standards
Recommendations from A Nation at Risk
1. All schools should require several years of
English, math, social studies, general
science & computer science.
2. No more “social promotion” of failing
students from grade to grade.
3. Teacher training and salaries should
improve.
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
•
Figure 20-4 (p. 542)
Grade Inflation in U.S. High Schools
In recent decades, teachers have given higher and higher
grades to students.
Source: Sax et al. (2004).
DISCUSSION QUESTION
• Is grade inflation a problem?
• Since 1970, 93% of Stanford
University’s grades have been
As and Bs --- and no Fs.
• In 1995, Stanford reintroduced
failing grades (NP for “not
passed”).
– Why would they change an F to a
NP?
RECENT ISSUES IN US
EDUCATION
School Choice
• Introduction of competition to
public schools and giving parents
options might force all schools to do
a better job.
• What do you think?
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
DISCUSSION QUESTION
• Is homeschooling an effective
alternative to public or private
schools?
• Would you allow your child to be
homeschooled? Why/Why not?
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
Mainstreaming
• Integrating students with special needs into
the overall educational program.
• Five million students are classified as
mentally or physically disabled.
• Many of the five million receive marginal
classroom experiences.
• Inclusive education maintains that it is good
to integrate all children.
• Mainstreaming needs to be approached
with a measure of common sense.
– In cases in which one has to serve the severe
and profound populations, a segregated
classroom may be best.
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
The Teacher Shortage
• Shortage due to the retirement of older
teachers, job-related frustration, and low pay.
• Using incentives such as higher salaries and
signing bonuses to attract people.
• States could make certification easier to get.
• School districts are going global—actively
recruiting in such countries as Spain, India,
and the Philippines to bring talented women
and men from around the world to U.S.
classrooms.
Sociology, Eleventh Edition
Schooling:
Looking Ahead
Role of Schools
•
•
•
•
•
The U.S. leads the world in sending people to college but
has many serious problems.
– Quality of schooling has fallen behind.
We cannot expect schools by themselves to provide highquality education.
– Students, teacher, parents and local communities
must work together.
– Educational problems are social problems пѓ no quick
fix.
Computers cannot replace good teachers.
Technology can be a great tool but cannot solve the
problems in schools.
What we need: a broad plan for social change that renews
this country’s early ambition to provide high-quality
universal schooling.
• http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/7d5ec0278e/
megan-fox-is-hot-for-teachers
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