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SOCA01H3 Lecture Notes - Steve Wozniak, Apparatchik, Pro Bono

Course Code
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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Mass Education: An Overview
Mass education is what we live with today
Mass educational systems are everywhere
Religion in traditional society was the main source of knowledge which is now taken
over my education, education is second in importance to the family as an agent of
Many people will say education is in fact is trying to replace parents many educators
call themselves co-parents
A 4-year old girl in Kitchener, Waterloo drew a gun/pistol and the teacher became
alarmed and called the Apparatchik (bureaucratic functionaries in the Soviet Union) who
then called the cops
o Cops raided the house and found a toy plastic gun they violated peoples’ civil
o The teacher asked the little girl what does the your daddy use the gun for and
she answered to kill monsters
o The family has currently contacted lawyers to issue a lawsuit, it is a pro bono
case ( a case done for free because it involves an important instance of law)
In many cases parents complain that education is trying to take over the role of primary
This universal mass education is recent and it is still reserved for wealthy countries
300 years ago most people were illiterate and never attended school
In Canada the literacy rate is 99%
o Literacy is the ability to read and understand at a primitive level
o University students have gone above and beyond the literacy rate
o Often beyond grade 8 literate
Education provides uniform socialization
o Religious training used to isolate people from the surrounding community, this
doesn’t take place with education
o Education has become rationalized and centralized, and there are strong
pressures towards uniformity and standardization
o Many people oppose this
In the US there is a strong tendency and a lesser degree in Canada
towards homeschool in these cases parents don’t like what the schools
are teaching
In primary school and high school the curriculum is established by
Apparatchik by bureaucrats in school boards
The curriculum in University is established by course instructors & this is
called academic freedom they get to decided what textbooks to use
and what lectures to give comes from common law tradition and goes
back 100s of years
Chief concerns of religion
What is taught in schools
Some people pay attention to how changes in the economy mean changes in education
Steve Job and Steve Wozniak have been in the news lately
o Two buddies who lived in California
o Were a part of the flower power generation and smoked a lot of dope, acid, etc.
o In-between doing all of this they founded Apple Computers
o Apple is now the largest corporation in the world worth half a trillion dollars
o Steve Jobs went to India and got into Buddhism, contemplation, yoga, etc.
plucked away with electronics constantly and came up with many of the
products we use today
o Isacson wrote a autobiography on Steve Jobs
o Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak have changed education
Sociologist look at how the economy influences education, and education has become
heavily computerized
Germany spent 150 billion dollars on solar energy, solar energy provides Germany with
0.04% of its’ total power that Germany produces – not much off a payoff from this
investment for Germany
Education can also influence the economy when talking about Steve Job that is the
economy influencing education
The other way around education influencing the economy
o Example = Watson & Crick - famous book = The double helix and DNA
o Was a huge discovery
o There are a bunch of genetic research companies out there now = educational
research made this change in the economy
2 approaches to education functional and conflict approach, Does education promote
equality or inequality?
Looks at achievements
Generally sees education as being based on meritocracy you are judged on merit, for
example, scantron = objective test based on merit
Educational systems are meritocracies they evaluate people on basis of
merit/achievement = functionalist gives this most prominence
Ascription is brought in here and there but it is much less important ascription is
much more important to conflict theory
Functionalism goes back a long way goes back to early French sociologist of the 19th
century Comte (French) & Spencer (Englishman), Parsons (20th century American)
They generally say that educational is functional and makes a positive contribution to
society because it integrates societal members into a functioning whole
Preview of Conflict Theory it argues that economic barriers filter basis on the ability
to pay, some jobs require academic credential and these credentials are questionable
as job skills
Retired Chartered Accountant back in the days when there was grade 13 once he
graduated grade 13, a CA company hired him, trained him, and wrote his Ontario
exams without a degree
Another ex-teacher said he graduated from grade 11, and took a 6 week course over
the summer and taught primary school in September, again with no degree now in
order to become a teacher must get a bachelors and then go to OISE to receive
teaching credentials
Many sociologists say there’s too much reliance of credentials ( talked about later
under Randal Collins)
Many people from the conflict traditional say that many academic credentials are
For example, LSATs and MCATS - these test lack validity, in other words they don’t
predict how well you are going to do in law school/med school/grad school
o GREs no longer need to be written in Canada because there are not valid,
doesn’t predict how you will do in grad school – however in the states you still
got to write this exam
o Many people will argue tests like this are questionable and if anything just
excluded people
Another critique of education is that it reproduces class differences
Conflict Approach
Marx & Neo Marxist
Neo-Marxist say that education perpetuates inequality and causes conflict
Conflict theorist say that education results in dissensus = conflict/disagreement