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Chapter 20

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Education
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Education vs. Schooling
Education–The social institution
through which society provides its
members with important knowledge,
including basic facts, job skills, and
cultural norms and values
Schooling–Formal instruction under
the direction of specially trained
teachers
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Schooling and Economic
Development
• India
– Most poor families depend on children’s
earnings.
– Many Indians see less reason to educate
girls.
• Japan
– Produces high achievers, and students
take difficult exams
– Only half of high school graduates enter
college.
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Schooling and Economic
Development
• Great Britain
– Most attend state schools; wealthy
attend elite schools.
– College admission linked to entrance
exams.
• The United States
– Equal opportunity and practical
learning.
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Functions of Schooling
• Socialization
– Primary schooling: Basic language and
mathematical skills
– Secondary schooling: Expansion of basic
skills to include cultural values and norms
• Cultural innovation
– Educational systems create as well as
transmit culture
• Social integration
– Brings a diverse nation together
• Social placement
– The enhancement of meritocracy
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
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
• Link between particular schools and
career opportunities
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Critical Analysis
• Functionalist approach overlooks that the
quality of schooling is far greater for
some than for others.
• US educational system reproduces the
class structure in each generation
• System transforms privilege into personal
worthiness and social disadvantage into
personal deficiency
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Schooling and Social Inequality
• Social control
– Schooling reinforces the status quo.
– Bowles & Gintis: The 19th-century rise
of public education came when factory
owners needed obedient, disciplined
workers.
• Standardized testing
– Biased based on race, ethnicity, or
class?
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Schooling and Social Inequality
• School tracking
– Tracking–Assigning students to
different types of educational programs
– Disadvantaged students typically end
up in lower tracks.
• School inequality
– Public vs. private schools
– Even public schools are not all the
same.
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Critical Analysis
• Social-conflict approach minimizes the
extent to which schooling enhances
upward social mobility for talented men
and women from all backgrounds.
• Today’s college curricula (including
sociology courses) challenges social
inequity on many fronts.
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Access to Higher Education
• Money is largest stumbling block to higher
education.
• Family income is still best predictor for
college attendance.
• On average, a person with a college
degree will add almost $1 million to his or
her lifetime earnings.
• Those with the most schooling are likely
to come from relatively well-off families to
begin with.
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Expanding Higher
Education
• The government makes money available
to help certain categories of people pay
for college.
• Community colleges
–
–
–
–
Low tuition
Special importance for minorities
Attract students from abroad
Faculty focuses on teaching
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Problems in Schools
• Discipline and violence
– Many believe schools need to teach discipline
because it isn’t addressed within the home
setting.
– Students and teachers are assaulted.
– Weapons are brought to school.
– Society’s problems spill into schools.
• Student passivity
– Many students are bored.
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Bureaucracy
• 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
• Specialization
– Many courses, many teachers; no one teacher
knows a student
• Little individual responsibility
– Students not encouraged to learn on their own
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
College: The Silent Classroom
• Passivity is also common among college
and university students.
• Karp and Yoels: Most students think
classroom passivity is their fault.
• Students find little value in classroom
discussion.
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Dropping Out
• The dropout rate has declined slightly in
recent decades.
• Dropping out is least pronounced among
non-Hispanic whites
• Researchers: Actual dropout rates are
probably at least twice the government's
numbers.
• Some reasons for dropping out:
– Problems with the English language
– Pregnancy
– Must work to help support their family
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Academic Standards
• Functional illiteracy–A lack of reading and
writing skills needed for everyday living
• The US spends more on schooling than
almost any other country, but teens still show
low science and math skills.
• US students generally are less motivated and
do less homework than Japanese students.
• Japanese students spend 60 more days in
school each year than US students
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
School Choice
• Pro: School choice creates a market for
schooling so parents and students can shop for
the best value.
• Con: Such programs erode national commitment
to public education, especially in urban schools.
– Magnet schools–Schools that offer special
facilities and programs to promote
educational excellence in a particular area.
– Charter schools–Public schools with more
freedom to try out new policies and programs
– Schooling for profit–School systems operated
by private, for-profit companies
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Home Schooling
• Gaining popularity
• Involves more school-age children than
magnet schools, charter schools, and forprofit schools combined
• Pro: Better results
• Con: “Takes some of the most affluent
and articulate parents out of the system”
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Schooling People
with Disabilities
• About half of all children with disabilities are
schooled in special facilities; the rest attend
public schools.
• Mainstreaming–Integrating students with
disabilities or special needs into the overall
educational program
– Works best for physically impaired students who
can keep up academically
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Adult Education
• In 2001, more than 92 million adults over
age 25 were enrolled in some type of
schooling.
• Why do adults return to the classroom?
– To advance a career or train for a new job, but
many also point to the simple goal of personal
enrichment
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
The Teacher Shortage
• Schools have adopted new recruitment
strategies.
• Incentives: Higher salaries and signing
bonuses
• States could make certification easier.
• School districts are actively recruiting in
such countries as Spain, India, and the
Philippines.
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
Schooling: Looking Ahead
• The last decade has seen many new ideas
about schooling.
• Significant changes in mass education
are likely.
• New information technology will reshape
schools
• But it won’t solve all the problems,
including violence and rigid bureaucracy
Sociology, 12th Edition by John Macionis
Copyright пѓ“ 2008 Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. All rights reserved.
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