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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 - Education

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Malcolm Mac Kinnon

Lecture 7 Education Mass educational system = Sociology of Education Religion in traditional society was the main source of knowledge and that was taken over by education Some say that education is in fact trying to replace parents (Educators call themselves co-parents) Mass education is recent and it is still reserved for wealthy countries Slide 5 - 300 years ago most people were illiterate and never attended school Literacy rate in Canada is 99% an ability to read at around grade 8 level (university rates are way past this) University students way past this Religion used to isolate people but education doesnt do this. Education has become rationalised and centralized and many pressures for uniformality and standardization o People that oppose this - In America, a lot of home-schooling because they dont like what the schools are teaching Particularly in kindergarten and high schools, curricula determined by the Apparatchik beauracrats in school board in university its is developed by professors (= academic freedom) Main concern about what is taught in school Some people pay attention to how changes in the economy relate to changes in education o Ex: Steve Jobs and Steve Wosniak (Apple Computers): they founded Apple (the largest corporation in the world now) These guys changed education but Steve Jobs was the better businessman laptops in class o Sociologists look at how the economy influences education which has become heavily computerized. (Steve jobs = its economy that influences the economy.) Education can influence the economy Watson and Crick: o Their famous book: the double Helix was a huge discovery. There are all kinds of genetic engineering companies out there today o Education in research help this in the economy today Functional and conflict approaches they contrast. The big question = does education cause inequality or equality? Functionalism looks at achievement: sees education as being based on a meritocracy o Ex: Scantron sheets = people evaluated based on merit or achievement o Ascription is much more important to conflict theory o Functioanlyist goes back to early French sociologists in the 1800s o St. Simone Comte, Spencer = were early functionalists 19 thcentury; Parsons = early functionalist 20 century o All say that education is functional because it integrates society into a functional whole o Functionalists approach = Consensus Conflict theory: economic barriers filter on the basis to ability to pay o Some jobs need academic credentials that are questionable as job skills o Charted accountant friend says: he graduated from grade 13 and a CA company trained him and he wrote his Ontario exams without a BA! Right out of high school! o An ex-teacher: graduated from grade 11 in high school; took quickie 6 weeks course in summer and teaching primary school in September now you need 4 years of university and then teachers collegeo Many sociologists say that there is too much reliance on credentials many academic credentials are questionable o Ex: LSATs and MCATs: are lacking validity and dont predict how well youre going to do in med/law schools o GRE: graduate records exam for socio, psych grad schools used to be mandatory; no longer the case because it doesnt predict how well you do. o People say that these tests are questionable - What they do is exclude people more than anything else = they reproduces class differences o Neo-Marxists: new; say that education perpetuates inequality and causes conflict; Conflict theorists say that education results in dissensus disagreement/ conflict (functionalists say that education results in consensus) o Randall Collins Slide 9 - Educational attainment (is the number of years of schooling completed or, for higher levels, certificates and degrees earned)is easy to measure but educational achievement is hard to measure. It is learning a skill that an individual acquires and at least in principle it is what grades reflect Education socializes people in traditional societies (aka non-literate societies they didnt read) culture is passed on from family to child. But as the division of labour increases which is a sign of the modern world this is the knowledge society. o Knowledge society parents cannot socialize you in many things As a division of labour increases, societies become more complicated formal education. The kinship network cannot properly socialize the child for the successful performance of adult roles you need specialized institutions o Ex. if dad is civil
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